Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said Monday that during his meeting next Friday with United States President George W. Bush he does not intend to talk about Venezuela, but about trade and biofuels.
"I do not think President Bush is coming here to talk with me about such an issue (Venezuela)" said Lula da Silva during his weekly program "Having coffee with the President". The Brazilian press has repeatedly reported, based on diplomatic sources, that President Bush' visit to several Latinamerican countries is aimed at "neutralizing Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez' actions in South America". "I do respect sovereignty. I think there is no room for us to discuss other countries' problems," Lula underscored. The Brazilian president underlined he intends to address two major trade issues with Bush: World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations and secondly, biofuels. Regarding biofuels, Brazil is asking the United States to stop levying import tariffs on imported Brazilian ethanol. The US and Brazil are the world's leading producers of ethanol, almost 70% of world production. In the US the fuel alternative is made out of corn (20 billion liters annually) and in Brazil (17 billion liters) from sugar cane. In Brazil where a blend of ethanol in car fuels is mandatory has plans to double production in the next five years Besides Brazil, Bush will visit Uruguay, Colombia and Guatemala from March 8 to 14. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is visiting Argentina and Bolivia around the same dates Bush is expected in the region.