Foreign Relations of Brazil

The Ministry of External Relations is in charge of the administration of foreign relations in Brazil. Brazil plays a very important political and economic role in Latin America. Their foreign policy not only shows how much of a regional power they are, but also the promise they have to become a world power. The policy also helps to defend the country's national interests, security, goals, and economic success.

Both Democratic and military governments were looking to increase Brazil’s influence after World War II.  They did this by engaging in an industrial policy and an independent foreign policy that was state-led. As of late, Brazil has tried to better their relations with other South American countries. Through the United Nations and the Organization of American States, they have also attempted multilateral diplomacy.

Foreign Policy

Brazil's foreign policy is a result of the distinct status it has as a regional power in Latin America. It is also a result of their leadership among developing countries and their being an up-and-coming world power. The country’s foreign policy has, by and large, been built upon Multilateralism and non-intervention has helped to form Brazil’s foreign policy. They aim to settle disputes as peacefully as possible. This multilateral diplomacy occurs through the Organization of American States and the United Nations. It has also strengthened bonds with third-world African and Asian countries. ‘

Brazilian foreign policy usually stresses the importance of regional cooperation. They aim for this rather than having independent power. They first showed this through the Southern Cone Common Market (Mercosul) and currently the Union of South American Nations. Additionally, Brazil is dedicated to having cooperation with other Portuguese-speaking countries. They are doing this through collaborations with the rest of the Portuguese-speaking world. These collaborations include military cooperation, financial aid, and national trade.

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Foreign Trade

Brazil's political, business, and military endeavors parallel the country's trade policy. The Ministry of Foreign Relations within the country continues to control trade policy. Sometimes, this makes the country's commercial interests overrun by a bigger goal. This occurs in order to extend Brazil's influence in Latin America and the world.

Brazil entered into an agreement in 2009 with three other emerging countries. These included South Africa, India and China. The agreement occurred so that these countries could work as a bloc in negotiations at the Copenhagen climate summit (usually called the Copenhagen Summit). These four countries still work together under the name BASIC countries.

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U.S.–Brazil Relations

The Ups and Downs of the Brazil-United States Relations

The Brazil–United States relations have existed for a long period of time. In 1808, after the relocation of the Portuguese royal court to Rio de Janeiro and the opening of the ports to foreign ships, the United States was the first country to set up a consulate in Brazil. Despite the United States and Brazil’s lack of being openly confrontational to one other, relations between these two countries have been fairly cool and distant. That aside, there has still been short phases of cooperation between the two.

Early History

The United States was the first nation to acknowledge Brazil’s independence from Portugal in 1824. The United States recognized the independence of Brazil with hopes of weakening European influence. The United States had the intention of establishing a Pan-American, anti-European economic bloc. This would greatly affect European and Brazilian trade. In terms of military, the U.S. also attempted to establish a Pan-American army that would be comprised of strictly U.S. military. Its goal would be to defend the Americas from European interventionism.

Brazil and Argentina were very against these plans. This is because both countries had a strong trade relationship with Europe and would have suffered from such a closed economic bloc. They were also very opposed to the military plan the United States created. The United States reacted to both countries’ resistance by putting tariffs on Brazilian latex exports to the United States. Relations between the two countries after this points varied greatly in the midst of World War II and when Brazilian president Getúlio Vargas was in power.

Post-Cold War

The 1980s brought about great tension in American-Brazilian relations due to economic problems. In 1990, President Collor wanted a quick establishment of harmonious relations with the United States after taking office. He did this to begin a hard-hitting policy in order to bring Brazil into the world economy. The Franco administration remained quite independent and responded coldly to proposals by the Clinton administration in regards to a Latin American free-trade zone.

The United States relations with the Cardoso government (1995–2003) were successful. Cardoso visited Washington and New York in 1995 and the Clinton administration was very eager regarding the passage of constitutional amendments that opened the Brazilian economy. This greatly enhanced worldwide involvement.

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Current issues

On March 14, 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama and Brazilian former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met for the first time in Washington. During this meeting, they discussed the economy, energy, the environment, and the custody case of a US boy taken to Brazil. He was a great admirer of Brazil and the leadership that President Lula has provided. He also said that the two countries currently had a very strong friendship.

What is BRIC?

BRIC is an acronym that refers to the countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. In 2001, Jim O’Neil (an economist for the U.S. bank Goldman Sachs) created the term “BRIC.” He estimated that Brazil, Russia, India and China would be a dominant force in the global economy by 2050. These countries are all considered to be at a similar stage as far as their sudden advanced economic development goes. It is usually referred to as "the BRICs" or "the BRIC countries." It is also sometimes known as the "Big Four."

Combined, all of these countries presently account for more than a quarter of the world's land area and more than 40% of the world's population. It is thought that the BRIC is going to become the world's most powerful economic grouping by 2030.

As of December 2010, South Africa became a member of the group as well. They participated for the first time as a member in April 2011.

Brazil’s Dominance

Brazil has the 5th largest landmass and the 5th largest population in the world. They also have a rapidly growing middle class. This population has increased form 60 to 90 million people in the last 10 years. They also have important exports fueled by China's growth and growing domestic consumption from this middle class.

It is thought that Brazil’s GDP will continue to rise at a very rapid rate. There is a current prediction of around 7 to 8% GDP growth for Brazil. New administration next year may push through tax reform and pension reform. If this happens, it will also decrease interest rates. This outcome will cause even more growth.

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Brazil Unique to Other BRICs

Brazil is the largest of the BRIC countries. It is frequently recognized for accruing most of the group’s success. Out of the members of BRIC, Brazil is the only country that has the ability to continue all elements (manufacturing, services, and resource supplying) together. Some say that Brazil is, ultimately, the steadiest of the BRIC countries. Distinct from China and Russia, Brazil is a democracy and unlike India, it doesn’t have any severe disputes with its neighbors.

Unlike the other BRIC nations, Brazil has come to its current success through many failures. Politically, there have been numerous debates in Brazil. There have also been many criticisms regarding policies and the new constitution. In spite of this, Brazil has tried to maintain the same, careful growth plan while keeping poverty reduction in mind.

 






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