Rice calls on Brazil to ’reenergize’ free trade talks

Bloomberg, 26 April 2005

Rice Calls on Brazil to `Reenergize’ Free Trade Talks

April 26 (Bloomberg) — U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on Brazil to ``reenergize’’ talks with the U.S. on the proposed Free Trade Agreement of the Americas.

``There ought to be as much free trade as possible,’’ Rice said at a news conference in Brasilia after meeting with Celso Amorim, Brazil’s foreign affairs minister. ``We talked on how we can reenergize our efforts on the FTAA.’’

The FTAA, first proposed in 1994 in Miami, would create a free trade area encompassing all the countries in the Americas except Cuba. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who took the lead in talks with the U.S., has put more emphasis on growing trade with China and neighboring nations at the expense of the U.S. and built support across South America to forestall U.S. attempts to speed negotiations for a free trade area spanning the hemisphere.

``We took the FTAA out of our agenda,’’ Lula said in a speech to Latin American union leaders in Brasilia April 20.

Amorim said today at the news conference with Rice that he endorsed the negotiations and plans to continue talks. He said that Lula, when talking about the FTAA last week, meant to say that Brazilian media companies had stopped covering talks on the agreement.

``We agree that it’s important to give momentum to negotiations once again,’’ Amorim said.

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source: Bloomberg