US, Brazil sign trade, economic agreement as Obama visits

Bloomberg | March 19, 2011

US, Brazil sign trade, economic agreement as Obama visits

By Eric Martin

(Updates with joint commission starting in second paragraph.)

March 19 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. and Brazil signed a trade and economic cooperation agreement to boost commerce between the Western Hemisphere’s largest economies as President Barack Obama arrived for his first visit to South America.

The accord creates a U.S.-Brazil commission to expand trade and remove non-tariff barriers, according to a statement today from U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk’s office. The commission will be led by Kirk’s office and by officials from two Brazilian ministries responsible for trade, industry and development.

Obama, appearing with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia today, said the nation is becoming a global economic leader and the two governments have an “historic opportunity” to deepen cooperation. Obama said he is starting his first visit to South America in Brazil to highlight its economic ascendancy.

Increasing U.S. companies’ sales to Brazil would help meet Obama’s goal of doubling exports by 2015. U.S. sales to Brazil climbed to a record $35.4 billion last year as the Brazilian real’s two-year, 41 percent rally against the dollar made American goods more attractive.

A trade and economic cooperation agreement is “among the first steps on the road to a free-trade agreement,” John Faraci, chief executive officer of Memphis, Tennessee-based International Paper Co., the world’s largest paper and pulp producer, said today at the U.S.-Brazil Business Summit in Brasilia.

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source: Bloomberg