By Waldheim Garcia Montoya
SAO PAULO – Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez said on Friday that they will arrive at next month’s G-20 economic summit in London with a joint proposal for reforming the world financial system.
“There is no accord between Brazil and the United States in the G-20. Our commitment is with Argentina and with the G-5 (Brazil, Mexico, China, India and South Africa),” Lula told reporters after he and his guest took part in a binational business forum in Sao Paulo.
The Brazilian, who met last weekend in Washington with U.S. President Barack Obama, did not offer any specifics about what he and Fernandez will put forward when leaders of the G-20, which includes the world’s seven leading industrialized nations as well as major developing countries, gather in the British capital April 2.
Fernandez said that global financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, “need a profound reform, as their great disorientation and lack of responses (to the economic crisis) is cause for concern.”
“The G-20 (summit) can be an incentive to see if they have the flexibility to recognize that the world has changed,” she said.
Lula suggested the IMF and World Bank were so accustomed to dealing with financial disruptions originating in the developing world that they didn’t know how to react to a crisis – such as the current one – which began in the United States.
Turning to the bilateral agenda, Fernandez said she and Lula discussed Brazil’s possible purchase of Argentine vaccines to prevent foot and mouth disease in livestock, as well as the need to prolong the cross-border financial arrangements adopted to ease the credit squeeze.
“We need to act in an intelligent and coordinated way to finance infrastructure projects,” the Argentine president said.
Fernandez also addressed complaints by Brazilian business about her government’s decision to require import licenses for a wide range of products.
While acknowledging the move “can seem like a protectionist measure,” she said the fall of Brazil’s real against the dollar – down 33 percent since last August – and the tax breaks Brazilian state governments have granted exporters could be seen by Argentine domestic producers as giving their competitors in Brazil an unfair advantage.
“We must work to define prices and to have ever-increasing trade between us, because trade is stalled throughout the whole world” by the recession, Lula said.
Argentina imposed the import-license requirement in a bid to ease its $4.35 billion trade deficit with neighboring Brazil, Latin America’s biggest economy. EFE