U.S. Vice President Joe Biden Visits Brazil

The Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, has visited Brazil, as part of a tour which also includes a visit to Colombia and Trinidad and Tobago. The Vice President’s visit to Brazil is of the highest-ranking U.S. official since President Obama travelled to Brazil in 2011.

US Vice President Joe Biden in Rio de Janeiro. Photo from Yahoo! News.

Vice President Biden visited energy companies in Rio, including Brazilian oil giant Petrobras, before heading to Brasília for talks with President Rousseff. Photo from Yahoo! News.

This and other visits between the U.S. and Latin countries scheduled for 2013 have been billed as “the most active high-level engagement with Latin America in a long, long time.”

Biden began his three-day visit to Brazil in Rio where he is spending two full days meeting business figures, particularly from the energy sector. He is also expected to meet with community leaders, including a visit to a pacified favela community.

Biden will meet President Dilma Rousseff and Vice President Michel Temer at the Planalto in Brasília on Friday 31 May.

An official statement said the Vice President looks forward to discussing “ways to deepen our economic and commercial partnerships and further our engagement on the broad array of bilateral, regional and global issues […].”

Ahead of the trip, Biden praised Latin America’s achievements in reducing poverty and noted the region was “experiencing a unique moment,” as he told Veja magazine.

The U.S. has made clear that it wishes to forge stronger ties with its partners in the Latin region through strong trade and investment. Recently, U.S. oil companies ExxonMobil and Chevron bought stakes in Brazil’s 11th oil and gas auction, signalling a return for the companies to Brazil.

Some commentators are suggesting that Vice President Biden’s visit to Brazil will act as a precursor to a rare state visit by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to the U.S. later this year – the first state visit in almost 20 years.

Commentators say that both regions want to seize on opportunities missed in the past. Brazil, for its part, has been accused of focusing too close to home, particularly on Mercosur, in terms of trade agreements in recent years. Brazil’s 200 million-strong population is seen as a big potential growth market for U.S. companies.

This fourth visit by Biden to Latin America as Vice President builds upon President Obama’s recent visit to Mexico and Costa Rica. Meanwhile, the White House has also announced visits to the U.S. by the Peruvian President Ollanta Humana and Chilean President Sebastián Piñera in June this year.

Read the full article on The Rio Times website.

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