The WaPo’s headline has it,
In Brazil, Obama will ask what S. American economy can do for U.S.
When top American officials have visited Brazil in the past, they often have asked what the United States can do to help Brazil’s economy, which has been buffetted by periodic financial crises.
But when President Obama visits this weekend, he’ll be asking what Brazil can do for the U.S. economy.
White House officials said Tuesday that Obama’s trip this weekend — the centerpiece of which will be a series of economic talks in Brazil — would focus on ways that rapid growth in Latin America’s largest economy can pay off for U.S. businesses.
“This trip fundamentally is about the U.S. recovery, U.S. exports and the critical relationship that Latin America plays in our economic future and jobs here in the United States,” said Michael Froman, national security adviser for international economic affairs.
Let’s hope the administration at least attempts to couch that in better terms, because you can bet the Brazilians are focused on what’s in their national interest, and give a rat’s patootie about the US’s.
The trip’s supposed to be about trade,
President Obama will be heading to the region at a time of growing trade between U.S. and Central and South America. U.S. exports to the region grew 86% between 2004 and 2009 and are on track to double in the next five years, the White House said. Exports to the region are estimated at about $161 billion in 2010, supporting nearly 900,000 U.S. jobs, the White House said.
Obama’s scrupulously avoiding Colombia and Peru, two countries which have been waiting and waiting for their own Free Trade Agreements to be finalized
Brazil is the first stop on the trip, which will include a visit with the country’s new president, Dilma Rousseff. He will also be visiting El Salvador and Chile.
I can’t wait to see if former Marxist Dilma will be lecturing Obama on free trade and business, and against protectionism, as Lula did almost exactly two years ago during Lula’s White House visit.
Oil and tech are on the table, but other trade is unlikely to change,
In a nutshell, Brazil wants greater access for its ethanol and other commodities, and fewer U.S. subsidies in cotton and agriculture generally. On the other side, the United States is pushing for more access for its consumer goods in Brazil.
Preliminary talks, including a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota in Washington earlier in March, have convinced both sides to expect scant, if any, progress.
Brazil says it cannot offer greater access to its consumer market, in part because its industries are suffering due to a strong currency and a wave of cheap imports from China..
Andres Oppenheimer is predicting a honeymoon, but my prediction is that they’ll punt on the trade issues, after the photo ops are done.
Dilma, however may insist on kicking a soccer ball. We shall see.
Security will be tight while the Obama family takes in the sights in Rio and possibly a stop at the beach. No word if Obama will meet with the Brazilian politician who changed his name to Barack Obama trying to get elected.
Cross-posted at Real Clear World