Brazil, Mexico may launch FTA talks next week

Xinhua | Friday, February 19, 2010

Brazil, Mexico may launch FTA talks next week

BRASILIA, Feb. 19, 2010 (Xinhua News Agency) — Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his Mexican counterpart Felipe Calderon may officially launch negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) at a bilateral meeting in Cancun, Mexico next Tuesday, Lula’s spokesman Marcelo Baumbach said Friday.

The leaders will meet after the second Summit of Latin America and the Caribbean and the annual Rio Group Summit, both taking place on Feb. 22-23 in the Mexican city, Baumbach told a press conference.

"President Lula expects that during his visit, it will be possible to launch negotiations for bilateral free trade agreement. The preparatory discussions, boosted by the decision of the presidents in August, advanced significantly. The announcement of new Brazilian investments in Mexico is also planned," he said.

The leaders will also meet with Brazilian and Mexican businessmen participating in the Strategic Business Forum to be held in parallel with the meeting.

Baumbach recalled that when President Calderon visited Brazil in August 2009, both presidents committed themselves to promoting annual meetings in the form of working visits.

"Brazil intends to become more present in Mexico with investments. And trade between Brazil and Mexico tends to become balanced now. The president will go there to consolidate it," the spokesman said.

During the visit, investments by the Brazilian petrochemical company Braskem to produce plastic resins in Mexico may be announced. The venture may generate nearly 3,000 permanent jobs, and during construction, between 6,000 and 8,000 jobs.

The leaders are also expected to review main themes of the regional agenda, such as Haiti and Honduras, he said.

A Memorandum of Understanding between Brazil and Mexico for the Prevention and Suppression of Persons and Migrants Trafficking may be signed, but is yet to be confirmed.

After his visit to Mexico, Lula will continue his regional tour to Cuba, Haiti and El Salvador.

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