Obama cites progress in relations with Brazil

White House photo Presdient Obama gestures during a press conference with the president of Brazil.

President Barack Obama says there has been enormous progress in the U.S. relationship with Brazil, though more work needs to be done. The president spoke after Oval Office talks with Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, covering economic and trade relations, and global issues including the world economy.

President Rousseff’s visit came a little more than a year after President Obama traveled to Brazil as part of his first extensive trip through Latin America.

The world’s sixth largest economy, Brazil has extensive exploitable oil reserves and an expanding middle class. It also has an increasingly assertive leadership role in global affairs, including such organizations as the Group of 20 leading industrialized and developing economies.

Among the issues discussed were trade, investment in technology and innovation, alternative energy and joint education initiatives, including scholarships for Brazilians to attend U.S. universities.

President Obama pointed to Brazil’s social progress and stronger voice in world affairs.

“Moving from dictatorship to democracy, embarking on an extraordinary growth path, lifting millions of people out of poverty, and becoming not only a leading voice in the region but also a leading voice in the world,” said President Obama.

Obama called Brazil a leader in bio-fuels, and said the U.S. is a potential large customer for Brazil’s extensive oil and gas deposits. President Rousseff called the oil and gas sector a tremendous opportunity for cooperation.

President Rousseff said the two leaders also discussed the global financial situation, including steps in Europe to stabilize the debt crisis there.

Ms. Rousseff said she voiced concern to Obama about expansionary monetary policies that she said can lead to depreciation of currency values in developed countries and impaired growth in emerging nations.

President Rousseff’s U.S. visit came just days before she and President Obama meet again at the sixth Summit of the Americas, which will bring 33 hemisphere leaders together in Cartagena, Colombia. Cuba will not attend.

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