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Focus on Brazil by Britain's Leading Newspaper

Wednesday, December 27th 2000 - 20:00 UTC
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Brazil has embarked on policies that can make it a major international economic nation, according to a comprehensive review of South America's biggest country and Mercosur's dominant partner, published by the London Times Newspaper.

The sixteen page supplement, entitled "Going Global: Investment in a Reformed Economy" , carries sixteen articles on all many aspects of Brazil's business activities ranging from banks to football and the fashion industry.

The Times Supplements Editor, Michael Knipe, a veteran journalist of wide experience, describes Brazil as a "new force in world markets". In an article headlined "Into the Global Arena", he writes: "At long last, Brazil South America's fitful economic giant, is showing signs of stirring and making an international impact commensurate with its size, population and potential.

"After decades of boom-bust cycles, the world's fifth largest country has turned its gaze to external markets rather than its enormous internal one - with which it was previously occupied -- and is positioning itself to become a credible global player.

"The Government has all but dismantled the country's protectionist walls against international trade, and Brazilian industrialists and businessmen are confidently restructuring their empires in order to compete at home and abroad".

Brazil's exports have increased by 17 per cent in the past year and, Michael Knipe says, are expected to grow by 20 per cent in 2001. Trade volume has doubled from 50-billion dollars to 100-billion in the past decade, with imports tripling from 20-billion dollars to 60-billion.

In what is described as "the world's biggest privatisation exercise", foreign investments are flowing in at an unprecedented rate. "International confidence in the new Brazil is such that foreign direct investments are estimated to exceed 30-billion dollars this year, making the country the third most popular recipient of foreign investment after the United States and China".

The Times Focus says the privatisation "mass sell-off" has been a "bonanza for the economy". Brazil is "set on a path of expansion", which, in world trade, "is presenting Brazilian companies with their toughest challenge and their greatest opportunities".

A Ministry of Finance spokesman, Roberto Gianetti da Fonseca, is quoted as predicting a six per cent growth rate in the next few years. But Michael Knipe sounds a note of caution, questioning whether "such international enthus

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