Ahmadinejad Welcome May Weaken Brazil Trust as It Expands Trade

Nov. 19 (Bloomberg) — Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s goals of expanding his nation’s global influence and strengthening commercial ties with Iran may collide as he hosts President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Brasilia next week.

Lula wants to show Brazil can play a larger international role as it pursues a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. The talks will center on a plan to increase financing for Brazilian exports to Iran, which more than doubled to $1.13 billion since 2002. Iran is also considering building steel plants in Brazil to tap the country’s iron ore reserves.

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No Superpowers

“Cooperation among underdeveloped countries is the way to fulfill our needs without the intervention of superpowers,” Mohsen Shaterzadeh, Iranian ambassador to Brazil, said in an interview from Brasilia. “The nations of the South, the underdeveloped world, have replaced the American market after this crisis.”

Exports to Iran, which holds the world’s second-biggest oil and natural gas reserves, account for less than 1 percent of Brazil’s sales abroad.

Iranians are ready to buy or rent land in Brazil to grow soy and corn to help assure supplies and will also consider producing ethanol, Shaterzadeh said.

In exchange, Iranians are seeking contracts to supply Brazilian farmers with fertilizers, the ambassador said.

Economic Strength

Lula is trying to increase his international role and show that Brazil can pursue its own policy even if it displeases other Western nations, said Brazil’s former Foreign Affairs Minister Luiz Felipe Lampreia[more…]

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