BRASILIA, June 27 (Xinhua) — Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff left Brazil for New York on Saturday, kicking off a long-postponed visit to the United States at the invitation of President Barack Obama.
Rousseff’s five-day tour from June 27 to July 1, which includes New York, Washington and San Francisco, is the first attempt to rebuild the bilateral relationship that was chilled when the United States was exposed to spy in 2013.
This visit was “carefully planned and preceded by a series of high-level contacts,” said Carlos Antonio da Rocha Paranhos, director of the United States, Canada and Interamerican Issues Department within the Brazilian Foreign Ministry.
A series of conversations have taken place between Rousseff and Obama in recent weeks, including meeting at the Summit of the Americas in Panama in April. These events have allowed the leaders to establish the bases of this visit which represents the rapprochement of the two governments after years of estrangement, Paranhos said.
In 2013, Edward Snowden, former employee of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), revealed that the agency was conducting a global electronic espionage mission, spying phones and emails of U.S. citizens as well as foreign leaders, including Rousseff.
This scandal infuriated Rouseff, so the Brazilian president postponed her visit to Washington which was planned for October 2013. But that crisis is now “water under the bridge, ” Paranhos said.
During this visit, Brazil and the United States would discuss issues like renewing the dialogue mechanism between the two sides, cooperation on defense and strategic dialogues on energy and so on.
In preparation for the topics relating to defense, the Brazilian defense minister Jaques Wagner met with U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in Washington on Friday.
Three important agreements with the United States are in the advanced stages of being approved in the Brazilian Congress, said Paranhos. One of the agreements involves cooperation in terms of defense and another involves protecting sensitive information. The third one is about combating tax evasion.
Rousseff and Obama will discuss the possibility of a coordinated approach to the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) which will take place between Nov. 30 and Dec. 11 in Paris, France. At this conference it is hoped that the world leaders will adopt a declaration of commitments on climate change.
The two leaders will also discuss the possibility of Brazil entering into the “Global Entry” program which facilitates visas benefiting first of all Brazilian travelers who frequently visit the United States.
Apart from the political dialogue, Rousseff’s visit also aims to reach agreement with the United States on technology, innovation, trade and investment.
In terms of economy, one main objective will be meeting with investors and showing them “Brazil is taking fiscal adjustments and the logistics infrastructure program seriously,” said Paranhos.
“We will make an effort to show Brazil’s investment opportunities and a seminar is planned for Tuesday in New York to show the Investment in Logistics Program to investors,” said Paranhos, adding that the Brazilian Minister for Planning Nelson Barbosa will be present at the seminar.
The United States is Brazil’s second-largest trading partner after China with a trade exchange that has permanently grown and makes up 14.7 percent of foreign trade, according to Paranhos.