Brazil Hopes U.S. Visit Locks Down Deals on Defense and Economy

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil expects concrete economic and defense support from the U.S. when its president visits Washington later this month, Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo told Bloomberg News.

Jair Bolsonaro, who took office on Jan. 1, will meet with Donald Trump during a March 17-19 trip that marks his first official visit to another foreign leader. Bolsonaro hopes the U.S. will back Brazil’s bid to join the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, offer military cooperation to boost its defense capabilities, and announce a deal on the commercial use of its Alcantara rocket launch site, the country’s top diplomat said. In exchange, Brazil offers to eliminate visa requirements for U.S. citizens and investment opportunities.

Brazil Hopes U.S. Visit Locks Down Deals on Defense and Economy

"Brazil has a strong interest in renewing its military equipment and capacity and for that a partnership with the U.S. seems vital to us," Araujo said in an interview in his Brasilia office on Thursday. "Brazil can only win from a closer relationship with the U.S."

In a departure from Brazil’s traditionally neutral foreign policy, the Bolsonaro administration has shifted its allegiance closer to the U.S. and Israel, downplaying ties to developing countries that his left-wing predecessors had cultivated.

Bolsonaro was dubbed by some pundits as the Trump of Latin America. Like his U.S. counterpart, he thrives on controversy, often via tweets, and has appointed former generals to his cabinet.

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