Brazil's President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, plans to travel to India and China in 2004 and to host a visit by Russian President Vladimir V. Putin. If confirmed, the meetings with other developing world heads of state would add weight to the aggressive foreign policy adopted by Lula's government during its first year. Lula strongly criticized the U.S. and the European Union in 2003 for shutting out farm exports from Brazil and other developing countries, and led a revolt that derailed talks at the World Trade Organization. Lula has also sought closer ties with Arab countries and South Africa, to reduce Brazil's dependence in trade terms on the U.S. and Europe. His efforts seem to have paid off. Brazil had exports of $72.4 billion in 2003 and a trade surplus of $24.5 billion -- both of which are records.
Edited by Rose Brady