By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Despite promising to make Brazil ‘one of the 50 best countries to do business’, President Jair Bolsonaro’s speech at the World Economic Forum was tepid, not answering the questions foreign investors expected to hear, say critics.

Brazil,President Jair Bolsonaro gives speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos,
President Jair Bolsonaro gives speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, photo by Alan Santos PR.

“Unfortunately, the speech does not match the reality of the first 21 days of Bolsonaro administration,” said Executive Secretary of Brazilian entity Climate Observatory, Carlos Rittl.

As one of the largest agribusiness exporters in the world, Brazil’s president also promised to look out of the environment while increasing agricultural production.

“Our mission now is to advance the compatibility between the preservation of the environment and biodiversity with the necessary economic development, remembering that they are interdependent and inseparable.”

“The federal government has acted in a concrete way to subjugate the environmental agenda to agribusiness and to dismantle climate governance. The results can be seen on the ground: deforestation in the Amazon is on the rise and a wave of indigenous land invasions is under way,” rebutted Rittl in a statement released by the entity.

In the short speech, Bolsonaro vowed to attract foreign capital, explore natural resources, carry out tax and Social Security reforms, invest in education, encourage tourism and maintain agribusiness sustainability.

Bolsonaro also stressed that he intends to implement a series of measures in the country, citing structural reforms, reduction of taxes and reduction of bureaucracy.

“We will reduce the tax burden, simplify the rules, and facilitate the lives of those who want to produce, undertake, invest and generate jobs. We will work for macroeconomic stability, respecting contracts, privatizing and balancing public accounts,” stated the President.

For Luiz Eduardo Portella, partner and manager of Novus Capital, however, Bolsonaro missed the opportunity to attract foreign investors.

“Even with plenty of time available to ‘sell the case of Brazil’ in one of the main stages of the global economy, the president stuck to the script and did not bring details about his economic agenda,” said Portella to business daily, Valor Economico.

Economic analysts now hope that Bolsonaro’s Economy Minister, Paulo Guedes, who is also in Davos, will be able to give further details of the new administration’s economic plans so as to attract much needed foreign investments to the country.

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