Speech by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ernesto Araújo, at the Opening of the Brasil Investment Forum – São Paulo, October 10, 2019*
A very good morning to all; it is an immense joy and honor for me to participate in this edition of the “Brasil Investment Forum” and contribute to President Jair Bolsonaro’s ambitious and courageous transformation agenda. A large portion of this transformation agenda is based on foreign relations. To increase competitiveness, to increase productivity, generate jobs, generate opportunities for all, it is necessary to open the country for what is most technologically advanced, for what is most advanced in terms of standards of public and governance politics, for the full integration of the country into the global value chains.
To that end, we need partnerships. We need, for instance, the extraordinary partnership we already have with the IDB; may it continue to generate new ideas. During last night’s dinner, while talking to Minister Paulo Guedes and the President of the IDB, new ideas were put forward, things we can do together, partnerships with you, with all investors.
The Itamaraty [the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs] is proud to be part of this construction of a new Brazil. All of us here, representing different ministries, are certainly proud of that. They are 22 ministries and 22 pillars of this project, this immense transformation project. I have just counted, we have here ten ministers of the Brazilian government. Out of 22, that is almost half the cabinet. I think this is an extraordinary sign of the relevance we attribute to this forum and to the coordination, contact, dialogue with the private sector, with investors. It is not every day that we see that level of commitment.
Apex [the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency], linked to the Itamaraty, but conducted by a council which includes, as well as the Itamaraty, the Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Agriculture, several government and private sector agencies, is a symbol of this joint work, this coordination of the Brazilian government, and it is an instrument of this policy for foreign engagement, for openness and for pride in being who we are.
We have made it clear in several occasions, the President has made it clear in many occasions, that economic freedom and political freedom necessarily go hand in hand. We are convinced that the axis of patriotism is the one which makes Brazil finally move forward. Some previous administrations, I believe, unfortunately did not even attempt the transformation, they merely tried to advance a certain power structure. Others attempted reforms, but without conviction. I think they tried a liberalism without the people. And for the first time we are attempting a liberalism with the people. We attempted it in the past, an attempt was made at a liberalism with no freedom, a liberalism of appearance, which did not alter the secular power structures in Brazil, a liberalism which did not challenge the system of backwardness.
Now we challenge it and thus can have a trade policy that actually trades, an infrastructure policy that actually builds infrastructure, an educational policy that actually educates, an environmental policy that actually cares for the environment, a technology policy that actually attracts technology, and so on, because the Brazilian people are mobilized around this project by President Jair Bolsonaro, because we are connecting ourselves to the global value chains and we are also connecting to the values of the Brazilian people.
The results of this new internal and external engagement can already be felt. In the case of external action, in the conclusion of the two largest extra-regional agreements ever negotiated by MERCOSUR, as mentioned before, with the European Union, and EFTA, they are felt in the very productive and beneficial rapprochement with the United States of America, as well as with other great partners with which we had unexplored potential, such as Japan, such as Israel. Also in the very productive and dense relations we are developing with other important partners such as China and the Arab countries, to which we will soon pay an important visit, that is, we are integrating ourselves into the world, we are integrating ourselves into the region, we are integrating the region.
We have brought a philosophy of open integration to South America, to Latin America, which was perhaps the original vision of integration, but which had been left behind, a vision uniting market economy and democracy, that is, the same project we have for Brazil, but that we wish upon the whole region: economic freedom and political freedom. We are living an extraordinary openness, an extraordinary increase in the range of options. We are ready, in that sense, for instance, to begin our process for accession to the OECD. That will reinforce this whole dynamic and this whole agenda we have. I have the conviction that the discussions and interchanges in this edition of the “Brasil Investment Forum” will much contribute for us to continue on this path of delivering results that answer to Brazilians’ interests and I think can also contribute to the region and to the world by creating a country that is more prosperous, dynamic, and with growth opportunities for all. And simultaneously a country that is more faithful to itself.
Thank you very much.
* Non-official translation. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs