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  • U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo (R) and Brazil's Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo at the State Department in Washington, U.S., Sep. 13, 2019.

    U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo (R) and Brazil's Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo at the State Department in Washington, U.S., Sep. 13, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 14 September 2019

"The Amazon is open to business" will be the most likely effect of an agreement aimed at encouraging private activities.

Brazil’s Foreign Affairs Minister Ernesto Araujo on Friday announced that the United States-Brazil Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which is currently being negotiated with President Donald Trump's administration, will become “the Holy Grail” for his country's private sector.

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"We are much closer to a trade agreement... It is the Holy Grail of Brazil's foreign policy, at least for the private sector, which has long dreamed of some kind of deal between the U.S. and Brazil," Araujo said at a press conference held in Washington, which was also attended by U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow.

Previously, during his three-day visit to Washington, the Brazilian ​​​​​​Minister made other unusual and unconcerned statements for a career diplomat.

"We threw Dilma out of the government," Araujo said referring to the former President Dilma Rousseff, a leftist woman who was the victim of a "technical coup d'etat" performed by the Brazilian far-right in August 2016.

After their "strategic" meeting, the Brazilian Minister and the U.S. Secretary of State "pledged to promote the development of private initiatives in the Amazon," EFE reported, adding that both officials mentioned some forms of environmental cooperation, which were defined in vague terms, though.

According to what Trump and Bolsonaro said when they met in March, however, the United States would provide Brazil with US$100 million to "promote" biodiversity at the world's largest tropical forest.

On that occasion, no details were provided on when these funds would be delivered, what their specific uses would be and what is meant by biodiversity "promotion", a term which in the jargon of international trade can encompass even the promotion of the sale of environmental goods and services.

The Brazilian Minister did not offer further details yesterday either, for Araujo simply insisted that the Amazon fires are "Brazil's business," which means that other nations should not interfere with his country's sovereignty.​​​​​

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