By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – After canceling her official visit to the United States in 2013, following reports that the U.S. had wiretapped some of her conversations, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff appeared at ease next to President Barack Obama on Tuesday (June 30th), during a press conference at the White House. The two leaders smiled as they agreed that this particular chapter in the their relationship was closed.
“Now if he (Obama) wants any information about Brazil which has not yet been made public, he will call me,” said Rousseff. The Brazilian leader said she believed Obama when he assured her the U.S. would no longer be spying on its allies. Obama returned the compliment saying he trusted Rousseff ‘completely’.
The two-day meeting between the two leaders rendered a joint agreement between the U.S. and Brazil on climate change, which President Rousseff called one of the main challenges facing the world in the coming decades. The two leaders said a work group would be created between the two nations to expand their bilateral cooperation in issues related to the use of the land and clean energy.
The two countries promised to increase the share of renewable energy sources in their energy matrixes by twenty percent by 2030. As for land use, Rousseff pledged Brazil would end the illegal deforestation of its forest areas and would restore and reforest twelve million hectares by 2030.
In addition to environment issues, Brazil was also able to secure access to the U.S. market for the import of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef. The negotiations for this access lasted fifteen years. According to Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, this authorization may increase the country’s beef exports to the U.S. (fresh and processed) to 100,000 tons of beef per year.
The U.S. also agreed to put Brazil on its Global Entry program, making it easier for Brazilian frequent flyers to enter the U.S. At the press conference Rousseff also praised the Obama Administration for renewing the U.S. diplomatic ties with Cuba.
The Brazilian President stated that the move was especially significant to Latin American countries. It ultimately elevates the level of the relations between the U.S. and the entire region. It is an important example of relations to be followed,” said Rousseff.
During Rousseff’s official visit, Obama received from his counterpart an official Brazilian sports jersey and was invited by Rousseff to Rio de Janeiro next year for the 2016 Olympics. Obama saying he would only wear the jersey when the South American country was not playing against the U.S. team.
Rousseff reiterated that the country was ready to deliver a safe and secure environment for the games. “Last year we organized the World Cup not only in one city,” said Rousseff, adding “We take the issue of security at large events very seriously. We guarantee total security.”
Rousseff was scheduled to visit Stanford University and NASA in San Francisco on Wednesday before returning to Brazil.