(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) Trade between Brazil and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has tripled in “a few years” since the thrust by Brazil to open resident embassies in every CARICOM Member State.
This was relayed by newly accredited Ambassador of Brazil to CARICOM, H.E. Lineu Pupo De Paula, as he presented his credentials to CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, last Tuesday, at the CARICOM Secretariat Headquarters in Georgetown, Guyana.
Total trade between CARICOM and Brazil increased from US$530,602 in 2003 to US$1,183,802 in 2012. The trade balance was in Brazil’s favour.
The new Brazilian envoy said: “In the last decade, the Brazilian Government decided to take a step forward in the direction of a more permanent presence in the Caribbean countries and, in a strong movement, we decided to open resident embassies in all CARICOM countries. One of our first consequences was that total trade between Brazil and CARICOM countries tripled in a few years.”
He added that there were many possibilities for cooperation between Brazil and the Region. He reaffirmed his commitment to facilitate technical cooperation, capacity-building, and workshops for the transfer of knowledge and techniques. He cited agriculture as one such area of cooperation and pointed to genetic improvement, cultivation methods, irrigation and production, as well as the use of agricultural equipment as avenues for assistance. He stated that Brazil was aware of the challenges faced by the Region in promoting development, and was committed to “make the voices of the Caribbean countries heard in the discussion of the major topics of the international agenda.” Brazil’s participation as shareholder in the Caribbean Development Bank will “allow for a more effective engagement” of Brazil aimed at the development of the Region, he added.
The Ambassador stated that both MERCOSUR and CARICOM had chosen “to be more than trade blocs,” it was therefore important that the parties exchanged experiences to strengthen regional integration initiatives.
Secretary-General LaRocque in his remarks expressed the hope that both sides could agree on a mutually convenient time for convening the Second CARICOM-Brazil Summit and also looked forward to the Inaugural Meeting of the CARICOM-Brazil Joint Commission.
The Secretary-General said that the bonds of friendship and cooperation Brazil has fostered with CARICOM at the bilateral and regional levels are reflective of its “serious commitment” to the Region.
“We firmly believe that your country is uniquely positioned to advance the interests of our Region in these and other fora, in particular where we do not have a voice,” he told the Brazilian Ambassador.
CARICOM for its part has also demonstrated support to Brazil for major posts at the head of influential organisations such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, Secretary-General LaRocque said.
CARICOM has identified the deepening of foreign policy coordination as one of its strategic priorities for 2015-2019.