Fourth Session of the Economic Partnership Dialogue Between the U.S. Department of State and Ministry of External Relations of Brazil
The U.S. Department of State and the Ministry of External Relations of Brazil held the fourth session of the Economic Partnership Dialogue on December 14, 2009, in Washington, DC, to further strengthen and expand economic and commercial cooperation between the two countries. This meeting built upon the positive results of the first three sessions, held in Brasilia on December 13, 2007, in Washington, D.C., on March 5-6, 2008, and in Brasilia on October 29-30, 2008. The Parties highlighted the depth and breadth of the U.S.-Brazil relationship, and reiterated that the Dialogue plays an important role in promoting economic cooperation and addressing the challenges posed by globalization and the present international economic situation. Toward this end, the Parties explored the following issues:
Competitiveness: The United States and Brazil shared their mutual interest in promoting competitiveness and their appreciation for the role of innovation in growing our economies. The Parties welcomed the results of the second U.S.-Brazil Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) on Science and Technology which took place November 19-20 in Washington, as a most valuable instrument to enhance the innovation capabilities of both economies and societies. They highlighted, in particular, the two Memoranda of Understanding, signed during the JCM, in the fields of metrology and health practices and research.
The Parties stressed the importance of the ongoing dialogue between the Movimento Brasil Competitivo and the American Council on Competitiveness, aimed at enhancing the innovation capabilities of both countries, in areas such as energy, communications, biotech and nanotech. As a next step, the Parties agreed to hold a workshop to develop new models of innovation and ways to maximize the public-private sector relationship in spurring innovation.
Agriculture: The Parties noted the importance of agriculture to both countries and welcomed continuing cooperation. The Parties noted the importance of the Consultative Committee on Agriculture, to explore opportunities to increase bilateral agricultural trade. Brazil expressed its wish to convene a CCA meeting as soon as possible, and the U.S. side agreed to explore this. The Parties also agreed to explore convening a technical level meeting in advance of the CCA to continue momentum on current discussions.
The Parties exchanged views about the importance of a higher participation of developing countries in the “Codex Alimentarius.” They also discussed cooperation in the context of the UN FAO, such as in the Codex Committee on Food Labeling.
OECD: Noting the importance of OECD in international fora, Parties discussed OECD work in the health and labor committees. The United States welcomed expanded participation in the OECD by Brazil.
Regulatory Dialogues: The Parties welcomed further cooperation on regulatory issues noting the importance of technical agencies working together closely to share information. The Parties expressed the desire to expand the regulatory cooperation agenda and the Office of Management and Budget noted their work on U.S. rulemaking and willingness to discuss with Brazil aspects of the U.S. rulemaking process. The Parties agreed to continue discussing MOUs that outline the framework for cooperation between Brazil and the United States, including a proposed MOU between the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture (MAPA).
Brazil indicated its interest in proceeding with the bilateral dialogue on import safety. TTB and its counterparts in Brazil look forward to continued cooperation within their areas of responsibility with the aim of developing concrete initiatives.
Trade Facilitation: The Parties noted with satisfaction that the bilateral cooperation on trade facilitation has been significant, and saluted the joint work of the Brazilian Technical Group on Trade Facilitation and the U. S. Government, and agreed to continue exploring ways to expedite trade flows between the two countries. Brazil acknowledged the contributions of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) CTPAT program in facilitating Brazilian exports to the United States, but expressed concern over how the U.S. “100% Scanning” process would affect Brazilian companies’ exports to the United States. The Parties discussed visa application procedures for CBP officials traveling to Brazil to conduct customs and trade validations of Brazilian companies.
The Parties also highlighted continued cooperation under the Ministry of Development, Industry, and Commerce (MDIC)-Department of Commerce (DOC) Commercial Dialogue and the Ministry of Foreign Relations (MRE)-Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Bilateral Consultative Mechanism, which contribute to the development of joint initiatives in this regard.
Distinctive Products: The U.S. side reiterated ongoing support for the recognition of cachaça as a distinct Brazilian product in the U.S. market, and presented an update on recent developments on the issue. The Brazilian side indicated its intention of giving equally positive consideration to the more recent U.S. request related to Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey. The Parties agreed to push for the timely implementation of solutions to both matters.
Food Security Cooperation: The Parties discussed possible areas of joint work to enhance global food security, including enhanced cooperation in international fora and third country assistance programs, particularly in Africa, the Caribbean and Central America. The U.S. side suggested that the U.S. and Brazil work together to ensure significant emphasis on these issues at the G-20 level. The Parties welcomed further discussion on expanded food security to take place between representatives of the U.S. Department of State and the Brazilian Foreign Ministry the following day, December 15.
Cooperation in Latin America on “Decent Work”: The Parties referenced ongoing trilateral discussions between Brazil, the U.S., and the International Labour Organization (ILO) concerning the promotion of the Hemispheric Decent Work Agenda of the Americas (2006-2015) in Latin America and African Countries. The U.S. side suggested the possibility of elevating the discussion of “Decent Work” activities at the G20, possibly at the next G20 Labor Ministers’ meeting in April 2010.
The Parties recalled that Brazil signed this year a South-South trilateral cooperation agreement with ILO, aimed at the eradication of child labour. Brazil and the United States committed U.S.$ 4 million and U.S.$7 million, respectively, to this initiative.
Representatives of the U.S. Department of State and the Brazilian Foreign Ministry will meet again December 15 to discuss a new trilateral program with ILO for the promotion of “green jobs” and the Global Jobs Pact, among other objectives.
Development Cooperation: The Parties reiterated their commitment to continue their joint efforts with Haiti, Mozambique and Sao Tome and Principe. In Mozambique, the U.S. and Brazil have been working on agriculture and health projects. In Sao Tome and Principe, cooperation has led to multi-year funding for an anti-malaria project. The Parties expect these projects will be the model for further and expanded trilateral development cooperation.
In this regard, Brazil and the U.S. also indicated that a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding between the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will be signed soon, at Ministerial level. The Parties recalled with satisfaction that the ABC-USAID Memorandum of Understanding is another positive result of the Economic Partnership Dialogue and was one of the main items in the agenda of the previous meeting, held in Brasilia in October 2008.
Haiti: The Parties expressed their desire to explore ways to enhance joint cooperation with Haiti. They welcomed the results of the Haiti Donors Conference held in Washington, DC, in April 2009. They recalled the U.S. decision to cancel 100 percent of Haiti’s bilateral debt, under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, and stressed the important role of Brazilian-led MINUSTAH troops in fostering security and stability in the country.
The Parties acknowledged the joint visit of the Directors of ABC and USAID-Brazil to Haiti to get acquainted with each country’s cooperation projects and to explore further possibilities of joint action. On that occasion, Brazil and the U.S. discussed reinforcing cooperation in the area of professional qualification in the textiles and apparel sector, where Haiti has great potential for attracting investments and creating jobs. The U.S. side noted that its future activities in Haiti would be informed by an intensive strategic review, which it expected to be completed in January. The strategy would likely focus U.S. assistance efforts on agriculture, energy, health and security activities.
Brazil also reiterated its intent to extend a preferential trade program to Haiti similar to the U.S.’s HOPE II, and emphasized the importance that both Governments support initiatives aimed at promoting the economic reconstruction of Haiti.
The Parties discussed cooperation to promote the economic and social development of Haiti, and noted, with satisfaction, the positive results that this kind of exercise can generate. Brazil intends to present new proposals of cooperation in specific sectors, since other Brazilian industries have been showing interest in pursuing similar initiatives with their U.S. counterparts.
Investment: The Parties were briefed on the technical discussions on investment policies held during the morning of December 14. The Parties noted that while the two sides’ approach to investment negotiations differ, both see significant common interests, and agreed it would be useful to continue discussions. The Parties welcomed recent progress achieved regarding the ongoing discussions in the Brazilian Congress on a tax information sharing agreement.
Telecommunications and Internet Governance: The Parties welcomed the next round of discussions between Brazil and the U.S. telecommunications agencies in the coming months. Further, the Parties exchanged views on the issue of mutual recognition of test results in the telecommunications area. The Brazilian side welcomed the adoption of the “Affirmation of Commitments” between the Department of Commerce and ICANN, and encouraged the U.S. side to adopt the results of the World Summit on Information Society.
Civil Aviation: The Parties noted with satisfaction the expanded direct passenger frequencies between the two countries, opening after the June 2008 revision of the Bilateral Air Transportation Agreement. In particular, they expressed confidence that the direct flights to new destinations in both countries would contribute to enhanced bilateral trade and tourism flows. The Parties also discussed the ongoing positive cooperation between the two countries’ regulatory agencies charged with civil aviation oversight.
The Parties agreed to meet again in the first half of 2010, in Brazil.