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Brazil agrees to pact with EU

From Times Wire Services

The European Union signed a strategic partnership with Brazil on Wednesday, cementing relations with one of the world’s major developing economies.

A partnership with the EU puts the South American giant on the same level as the other large emerging players -- China, Russia and India -- and revives a historic relationship, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said.

Lula was attending a summit hosted by Portugal, which has pledged to boost links with its former colony and Africa.

Portugal took over the rotating, six-month EU presidency Sunday.

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“As I am a man of faith, I believe this EU-Brazil partnership could resolve many problems that existed yesterday but don’t exist today,” Lula, who has raised Brazil’s global profile since coming to power, told journalists.

“This agreement is of interest to all of South America and to Mercosur,” Lula said, adding that it could pave the way for a trade deal between South American trade group Mercosur and Europe.

At yearly summits, the EU and Brazil would work together on issues such as climate change and renewable energy such as biodiesel, of which Brazil is a leading producer.

Trade talks between Mercosur and the EU are on hold pending the outcome of struggling global trade talks at the World Trade Organization in the so-called Doha round.

European leaders said the talks with Lula could revive Doha.

“This summit managed to relaunch the [Doha] negotiations,” Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates said. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Europe and Brazil would work together to revive Doha.

Trade talks in Germany at the end of June among the United States, Brazil, India and Europe collapsed over disagreement on European and U.S. farm subsidies and tariffs and concerns by poor countries over opening their markets to industrial goods.

Lula said negotiators had to sit down “with maturity” at the negotiating table again.

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“In negotiations it is not worth getting nervous or irritated,” said Lula, who has championed poor countries’ increased access to rich-country markets in the Doha talks.

“Brazil will work tirelessly to construct numbers that are factual for everybody around the table, just as long as we remember that the most important thing is that poor countries need to gain the most and rich countries the least,” he said.

Brussels sees Brazil as a key player in the fight against global warming, one of the EU’s priorities.


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