Relations between Brazil and the United States (US) are experiencing one of their best phases, said President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in his statement to the press at his meeting with US President George W. Bush.

    According to Lula, when he was elected, many people foresaw a deterioration in the relations between the two countries.

    "They were roundly mistaken. To the contrary, our relations today are at one of their high points," he declared.

    According to the Brazilian President, economic and trade relations have expanded, the political dialogue has improved in quality, and the work groups created on growth, agriculture, and energy have brought significant results.

    The two countries are now determined to advance in other fields. "We shall initiate high level cooperation in science and technology and intensify our partnerships in education and areas like biodiversity and agriculture.

    "In the health sector, we shall inaugurate new fronts of cooperation in the battle against illnesses such as malaria, tuberculosis, and AIDS and threats such as the bird flu pandemic," the President informed.

    Lula said that even Brazil’s closer ties with the rest of South America, China, India, Russia, Korea, South Africa, the Caribbean, and the Arab world have not hurt relations with developed countries such as the United States, Japan, and those that compose the European Union.

    According to Lula, Brazil’s partnership with the US is based on very solid economic foundations. "The United States is Brazil’s single largest trade partner, the biggest market for our exports, and our chief source of direct investments. Our trade has grown at a 7% annual rate. In 2004 alone we received US$ 4 billion in investments from the US."

    Lula went on to say that Brazil’s foreign policy is not just an instrument for Brazil’s global projection but also an essential factor in the country’s national development project.

    For the President, history will record not only the decisions that have an immediate impact but the initiatives that take into account future generations and the need to face and resolve "the great challenges."

    "Brazil’s foreign policy transcends administrations," he declared. "At the same time as it defends the national interest, it pursues major democratic values in the international sphere. In this context, I insist, US-Brazil relations are fundamental, and their improvement is a legacy we should bequeath to those who follow."

    Agência Brasil

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