Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said the U.S. economy’s recovery from the financial crisis of 2008 is proof that Brazil can return to economic growth.
“The fact that a country is going through a crisis doesn’t mean that its role should be diminished,” Rousseff said at a joint news conference in Washington after meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama. “Brazil will overcome the effects of the current crisis.”
Rousseff said increasing trade with a growing U.S. economy presents an opportunity to stimulate Brazil, where gross domestic product is expected to shrink 1.5 percent this year. Obama said Latin America’s largest economy is more than a regional power, citing Brazil’s global leadership on energy, climate and health.
Joking about who to cheer for in the Rio Olympic Games, the two leaders said they put allegations of government surveillance behind them since Rousseff canceled a state visit in 2013. In addition to increasing trade and investment, both countries promised to shift more of their energy matrix to renewable power and set concrete goals to be discussed at December’s climate change conference in Paris.
“The United States, as powerful as we are and as interested as we are in solving a whole range of international issues, recognizes that we can’t do it alone,” Obama said.
While Obama took questions on what a reporter called his “best week ever” after Supreme Court decisions on health care and gay marriage, Rousseff’s U.S. visit was preceded by fresh revelations in the kickback scheme involving state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA.
Testimony cited in press reports last week said corruption allegations were reaching her inner circle, including her chief of staff, Aloizio Mercadante. He canceled his participation in the U.S. trip, denying allegations of wrongdoing. Rousseff said she wouldn’t fire ministers based on partial reports leaked to the press.
Much of Rousseff’s visit is focused on attracting investment, especially for the 198.4 billion-real ($64 billion) package of infrastructure projects that she presented to investors Monday in New York. Rousseff will travel to California Wednesday to meet executives from technology companies and university presidents to discuss innovation and expanding education in science and technology.