Tax News | 10 April 2012
Business calls for US-Brazil trade treaty
by Leroy Baker, Tax-News.com, New York
On the occasion of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s visit to the United States on April 9, the US Chamber of Commerce (USCC) President and CEO Thomas Donohue called on the two countries to begin discussions on a comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
Ahead of the presidential meeting between President Rousseff and US President Barack Obama, a joint letter was sent to Presidents Rousseff and Obama from the Brazil-US Business Council, the USCC and the Brazilian National Confederation of Industry.
The signatories asked the Presidents to include private sector participation in the various government-to-government dialogues and to take action on several new high level priorities in addition to the EPA, including a Patent Prosecution Highway Agreement and the establishment of an Aviation Programme and a new Technology Safeguards Agreement.
“We look forward to hearing our government leaders’ vision for a stronger Brazil-US relationship,” said Donohue. “We believe now is the time to begin discussions on a bilateral EPA that would address market access, trade rules and new issues of US and Brazilian interest.”
After their subsequent meeting while the two Presidents did not suggest that such a trade treaty was yet in sight, they did welcome “the growth of the US-Brazil trade and investment relationship, illustrated by a record USD74bn in two-way trade in 2011. They further emphasized the importance of the mutual benefits of stimulating increased trade and investment.”
They reaffirmed the commitment of both countries “to advance trade in services and manufactured goods and to strengthen collaboration in agricultural policies, research, science-based sanitary and phytosanitary measures, as well as to strive, both in bilateral and multilateral fora, towards the removal of barriers to trade in agricultural products.”
President Obama also welcomed the recent inaugural meeting of the US-Brazil Commission on Economic and Trade Relations, which was established under the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation that was concluded last year and which establishes a road map for future trade negotiations.
During its first meeting last month, the Commission agreed to establish a dialogue on investment issues and explore greater cooperation on intellectual property rights and innovation, cross-border trade in services, and small and medium-sized enterprises. The next meeting of the Commission will be held in Brazil in 2013.
In other areas, there has been an exchange of letters to launch a process to provide distinctive product designations for Tennessee Whiskey and Bourbon Whiskey from the US and Cachaça from Brazil. Once in place, it is expected that “these designations will create additional opportunities for trade for some of the US’ and Brazil’s most unique and well-recognized goods.”
Presidents Rousseff and Obama also agreed their mutual opposition to the application of the European Union’s emissions trading scheme to international air transport. They emphasized that issues related to international civil aviation emissions should be resolved multilaterally.