By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – This past weekend Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff started her first official state visit to the United States and will visit New York, Washington and San Francisco. Rousseff and the Brazilian delegation accompanying her will explain to U.S. businessmen and officials the fiscal adjustments currently underway in world’s seventh largest economy, and try to attract new foreign investments to Brazil.
“It will be a chance for the President to present to different sectors, (Brazil’s) fiscal adjustment plan and the importance of the return U.S. investments, especially during this moment when we are implementing a new and important investment program in our infrastructure sector,” said Carlos Paranhos, sub-secretary general at the Brazilian Foreign Relation Ministry.
Rousseff spent the weekend in New York talking to U.S. and Brazilian business leaders about investment opportunities in Brazil. On Monday night the Brazilian President will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama for dinner at the White House and on Tuesday the South American leader is expected to have work-related meetings with Obama.
Among the issues to be discussed by the two leaders are the issue of climate change and the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris at the end of the year, beef trade between the two countries and the possible entry of Brazilians into the U.S. Global Entry program. During her visit to San Francisco, Rousseff is expected to visit Stanford University and NASA.
“This visit is important since it represents the return of the bilateral political dialogue between Brazil and the United States, in addition to the return of contacts in the commercial and economic areas and debates about relevant issues in the international agenda,” said Paranhos.
According to Brazil’s Foreign Ministry in 2014 the United States was Brazil’s second largest trading partner (only behind China) and responsible for 13.66 percent of Brazil’s foreign trade. In the first five months of 2015 the trade between Brazil and the United States totaled US$21.4 billion. The United States is also the largest foreign investor in Brazil. According to Brazil’s Central Bank in 2013 U.S. investments in the country totaled US$116 billion.
In 2013 President Rousseff cancelled an official visit to the United States after American whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the Obama Administration had wiretapped the Brazilian leader and Brazilian companies.