PGMA underscores need to deepen RP-Brazil relations

June 25, 2009 8:45 am 

BRASILIA, Brazil, June 25 — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo underscored Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) the need for the Philippines and Brazil to further deepen and widen 49 years of bilateral relations through diplomacy, mutual trade and investment.

In the state luncheon hosted by Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva at the Palacio de Itamaraty, President Arroyo noted that although Filipinos and Brazilians speak different language, “we are united by other languages” such as faith and family, equality and justice, peace and mutual understanding and hope and peace.

“Ours is, therefore a bilateral partnership waiting to be deepened with the powerful tools of diplomacy and mutual trade and investment,” the President said.

The President suggested that the strengthening of Philippine-Brazil ties can start with the bilateral consultation mechanism the two countries launched in 2006, as the primary diplomatic vehicle to advance their common goal of deeper relations.

While noting that total bilateral trade between the Philippines and Brazil reached more than 1 billion dollars in 2008, the President said that there is a need to continue to “embrace international trade as engine of growth and productivity.”

She noted that there is still a lot of space to improve trade between the two countries considering that Brazil is the 10th largest economy in the world, and the Philippines’ strategic position as the gateway to East Asia.

The President also stressed the need to focus on mutual investment as exemplified by the multimillion dollar Philippine investment at the Tecon Suape Port facility in Recife City and the P600-million Brazilian investment in mining operations in Masbate.

The President also said that other areas of cooperation between Brazil and the Philippines that need to be further explored and developed include agriculture and biofuels.

“Greater cooperation between our two countries must indeed be a priority on our agenda especially if we are to help strengthen the developing world and make globalization positive and meaningful for our people,” she said.

She noted that the Philippines and Brazil are active participants in the Forum for East Asia and Latin America Cooperation in the World Trade Organization (WTO). Both countries are close collaborators within the G20 to ensure that the voice of the developing nations are considered in shaping the global trading system, President Arroyo added.

“We have consistently stood together and we will continue to do so in pushing for the conclusion of the stalled Doha Development Agenda,” the President said.

She also noted that both the Philippines and Brazil have weathered the present global financial crunch comparatively well than their neighbors.

She invited President Lula to visit the Philippines even as she recalled her fond memories of Brazil when she visited this Latin American country for the first time in 1960 while still a student.

“Mr. President, as the first sitting Philippine President to visit your country, I wish to thank you again for the hospitality you have shown us. I hope you will allow me the opportunity to reciprocate your hospitality in the near future, if your excellency could likewise become the first Brazilian President to visit my country,” she said. (PNA)

LAP/vcs/OPS/ssc

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