Articles

Eyes on Brazil

In NLLSA on December 22, 2009 by Barbara

It’s hard not to notice the “B” of the BRIC countries after Brazil made headlines this week in a number of areas:

Oil

On Dec. 17, The Wall Street Journal reported that Brazil may overtake Mexico and Venezuela as the region’s leading oil producer as early as 2011. Petroleo Brasileiro, or Petrobras, which accounts for approx. 95% of the nation’s oil, has begun producing more than 2 million barrels of oil per day. U.S. companies have recently signed technological cooperation agreements with Brazil and discovered oil off of its coasts.

Economic stimulus

President Lula announced on Dec. 21 that most of the government’s economic stimulus packages that were introduced in late 2008/early 2009 will conclude next year. Various manufacturing sectors received tax breaks and the Central Bank lowered interest rates (statutory reserve requirements) for banks; these measures spurred sufficient demand to avoid a major recession and enable the country to grow over 5% in 2010.

For a related WSJ article on growth rates for other Latin American nations, please click here.

Trade

BusinessWeek reported on Dec. 21 that Brazil plans to set $829.3 million of sanctions each year on United States products for the U.S.’s failure to discontinue its subsidies to domestic cotton producers. More than a quarter of these sanctions will be directed toward “American trademarks, patents and commercial services” if the subsidies reach “a minimum threshold” while the remaining amount will focus on U.S. goods. This is the second-highest amount of sanctions to be issued in the history of the World Trade Organization.

Research

Brazil is among the world’s “top 5 government funders of neglected disease R&D in 2008” as reported in a study by The George Institute for International Health and a Dec. 21 article from The New York Times. India, another BRIC nation, is also a member of this group, though both countries lag behind the U.S. government, which was “by far the greatest public sector contributor to neglected disease R&D.” One disease of particular interest was leprosy, as Brazil and India have some of the highest incidences of this disease worldwide.

What does all of this mean?

With a steadily growing economy and potential for future oil exploration, there is no doubt that Brazil will continue to make waves in 2010 – the manner in which its relationship with the U.S. and other economic powerhouses develops during this time will be of particular interest.

__________________________

Barbara Barreno, a second-year student at Vanderbilt University Law School, is NLLSA’s South Atlantic Regional Director. The South Atlantic Region consists of law schools from Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

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