World Economy

Brazil, Germany Refocus on Trade, Climate Change

Brazil, Germany Refocus  on Trade, Climate ChangeBrazil, Germany Refocus  on Trade, Climate Change

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said Thursday that she and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have agreed to expand trade and take joint action to combat climate change.

Rousseff made her remarks after she met with Merkel, who concluded a 24-hour hour visit to Latin America’s biggest country, AP reported.

Germany is Brazil’s biggest trading partner in Europe and the country’s fourth largest in the world. Official figures show that between 2003 and 2014 trade between the two countries increased 175%, going from $7.4 billion to $21 billion.

Rousseff said she and Merkel agreed to work together to deal with climate change, calling it “one of the 21st century’s biggest challenges.”

The two leaders also discussed cooperation in technology, science, development, trade, finance, education and environmental protection. Rousseff urged German companies to invest in Brazilian infrastructure and electric energy projects as well as in railways, airports, highways and ports.

 Stopping Deforestation

“Brazil is the key to all goals related to the climate,” Merkel said, DW reported.

The chancellor’s visit, which was set to be less than 24 hours, was heavily focused on environmental issues. While Brazil has made a point to stop the runaway clearing of trees for new farmland, NGOs that monitor the Amazon claimed that destruction has picked up again in 2015 after slowing down in previous years.

“We are very satisfied that there have been very ambitious developments concerning the stopping of deforestation,” Merkel said, adding that Brazil’s policies towards the environment affect the entire world: “It’s also the key to maintaining biodiversity in the world, because Brazil is the richest country in the world concerning biodiversity. What gets destroyed here cannot be replaced.”

According to German government sources, a fund of €550 million ($615 million) would be offered to Brazil to help its anti-deforestation and sustainability campaigns over the next two years. The two nations also agreed to set up a Berlin-funded program to protect certain parts of the rainforest.

“We agreed on common actions to deal with one of the most important challenges of the 21st Century,” President Rousseff said. She added that Brazil is committed to reducing deforestation in the Amazon in the next 15 years.

 More German Investment

In return, Merkel sought more room for trade with German industry from Brazil, which represents a huge emerging market. German firms like Volkswagen and Bayer employ around 250,000 Brazilians, and the chancellor hoped her visit would encourage investors to participate in Rousseff’s plan for infrastructure projects amounting to around $64 billion.

“We can expand our trade,” she said. “The German companies want and are ready, to invest more in Brazil.”

The visit was seen as a public relations boon for Rousseff, who is facing massive street protests as the corruption scandal surrounding state-owned oil giant Petrobras, of which she was once chairwoman, grows to engulf ever-more-powerful figures.

 Decarbonized Global Economy

Germany and Brazil pledged to work together to campaign for a decarbonized global economy by the end of the century, in the latest sign that momentum is gathering towards a global deal on tackling climate change in Paris at the end of this year.

Later both the leaders released a joint statement expressing strong support for a successful outcome at the Paris talks in December.

The pact marks the first time the two countries have joined forces to call for nations to agree to aim for zero-carbon economies. They hoped that their declaration will boost support for a target ahead of the conference.

Jennifer Morgan, global director of the climate program at the World Resources Institute, praised the announcement, saying it would send a “powerful signal” to other countries.

“It’s telling that two countries with very different economies view a goal of decarbonizing the global economy, in an equitable manner, as desirable and achievable,” she said in a statement. “Their shared vision that the Paris agreement should ensure countries deliver more ambitious actions over time sends a powerful signal to the international community.”