Federal Government – President Lula in Berlin: Will a free trade agreement materialize? – Politics

Berlin (dpa) – After an eight-year hiatus, the German and Brazilian governments met again for the first time to comprehensively discuss their cooperation. Under the leadership of Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the Berlin Chancellor will today focus on economic cooperation, energy and climate protection as well as foreign and security policy.

The most interesting question is: Can the free trade agreement negotiations between the South American economic community Mercosur and the European Union that have been going on for years finally reach a conclusion?

Free trade zone with more than 700 million inhabitants

The agreement will create one of the world’s largest free trade zones with more than 700 million residents. EU discussions on this matter with the four states of Mercosur, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay have been going on for more than 20 years. However, fundamental agreements made in 2019 will not be implemented due to lingering concerns – for example regarding rainforest protection.

The German economy demanded a quick solution. However, the recent Green Party conference called for renegotiations in defiance of the federal executive council’s desire to end “intensive mining of raw materials in the south for northern consumption”. The government coalition consisting of the SPD, Green Party and FDP, on the other hand, confirmed in the Bundestag a few days ago that it supports the planned trade agreement.

Many agreements are planned

Several ministers from both sides took part in the meeting, nine from the German side. Many agreements will be signed, including on biodiversity and marine protection, rainforest reforestation, digitalization and the extraction of mineral raw materials.

Brazil leads the G20

Brazil took over the chairmanship of the G20 round of leading economic powers on December 1 and will host the summit in Rio de Janeiro next year. But the country is also represented in the Brics group alongside China, Russia and India, seen by many as G7 rivals of western industrialized nations.

In terms of security policy, there are clear differences between Germany and Brazil, including in the Gaza and Ukraine wars. While Germany has only advocated a ceasefire between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas to allow for humanitarian aid, Brazil has called for an immediate and permanent ceasefire. In Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, Brazil has long been committed to peace negotiations, while Germany has left the decision to Ukraine.

Consultations stalled because of Bolsonaro

The Federal Government regularly organizes government consultations with countries with which it has close partnerships or countries of great strategic importance for Germany. The German and Brazilian cabinets met for the first time in Brasília in 2015 to expand their ties.

However, under the administration of right-wing populist President Jair Bolsonaro, nicknamed “Tropical Trump,” the consultations were postponed for years. After Lula returned to Brazil’s leadership, the idea was revived. In January, Lula and Scholz agreed to continue consultations during their first visit to Brasilia.

© dpa-infocom, dpa:231204-99-171132/5

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