Saturday, May 31st 2003 - 21:00 UTC

Brazil's Lula to propose G-8 nations help developing countries.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will ask the leaders of the world's richest nations to fund social programs in developing countries, government officials reported last night Friday 30th.

Lula, as the president is known, left for Geneva to take part in the G-8 summit in France as a special guest. He plans to demand that G-8 nations - Germany, Canada, the United States, France, Italy, Japan, Britain and Russia - be consistent in their international trade negotiations.

"President Lula will criticize the position of developed countries, which invest millions and millions (of dollars) in subsidies for their exports and leave emerging nations, such as Brazil, at a disadvantage on the international market," a government spokesman said. Lula will propose that G-8 nations contribute to a special fund to fight hunger that he suggests be financed by a tax on arms purchases and foreign debt payments by developing countries.

Lula, an ex-union boss, also plans to underscore the importance of the ongoing World Trade Organization talks about ending rich countries' farm subsidies.

According to the Brazilian government, the negotiations are being hindered by a lack of political will by WTO members, particularly developed countries.

Apart from the summit, Lula is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss a possible trade deal between Russia and the Mercosur trade bloc, which comprises Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

Lula will also lobby the G-8 leaders to support Brazil's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Mexican President Vicente Fox and Lula are the only Latin American leaders attending the G-8 gathering.

Their two countries have the world's 10th and 11th largest economies, with Mexico usually listed ahead of Brazil in terms of GDP.

The summit will be held at Evian-les-Bains, on the southern shore of Lake Geneva.

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