Rousseff Says Brazilian Policies Defensive Not Protectionist

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff denied her government was undertaking protectionist policies and called on the developed world to boost investment, rather than relying on monetary stimulus to fuel demand.

Europe’s monetary policy in response to its sovereign debt crisis is flooding emerging markets with money, overvaluing their exchange rates and threatening local industry, Rousseff said in a speech in Cartagena, Colombia today.

“It’s clear that we have to take measures to defend ourselves,” Rousseff said. “I said defend, not protect. To defend is different, defend means to perceive that we cannot leave our manufacturing sector be cannibalized.”

Since August, Brazilian central bank president Alexandre Tombini has reduced the benchmark Selic rate five times as the priority to revive economic growth outweighed concern inflation would remain above target. Rousseff has also increased import tariffs and three weeks ago ordered tax cuts and other stimulus measures worth about 65 billion reais ($35.4 billion), as she seeks to protect domestic manufacturers from what she called “predatory” competition from rich nations.

Euro zone monetary expansion is “provoking a real monetary tsunami,” Rousseff said today. “This is affecting us by causing our currencies to appreciate, an obstacle for the trade in goods and services and transforms our economies in easy prey for deindustrialization.”

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