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British Deputy PM Clegg describes Brazil as an “environmental super-power”

Wednesday, June 22nd 2011 - 02:46 UTC
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Clegg addresses a green energy forum in Sao Paulo Clegg addresses a green energy forum in Sao Paulo

British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg praised Brazil as an “environmental super-power” underlining the country’s leadership in areas such as renewable energies which he described as one of the pillars of the ‘green economy’ for a more sustainable world.

During the first day of his visit Clegg met with Sao Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin and talked about trade, investments and possible joint ventures, and later was the main speaker at the forum “UK and Brazil: an association for developing innovation in green businesses”

“The green economy will be one of the pillars of the new social, environmental and sustainable economy that we all want to build. And Brazil has the leadership in power generation and ethanol”, said Clegg at the forum.

Governor Alckmin said that Brazil is interested in the UK experiences such as the Green Bank which was recently launched to promote investments in new energies: “they are necessary investments to help with technological and research support in developing green projects”.

Deputy PM Clegg is visiting Brazil with a delegation that includes several ministers, business leaders, academics and sports’ industry figures. From Sao Paulo he travels to Brasilia where he is scheduled to meet Vice President Michel Tamer and Foreign Affairs minister Antonio Patriota.

In the last day of the tour Clegg and the delegation will visit Petrobras headquarters, the Maracaná stadium and other infrastructure under construction for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games to be hosted by Brazil.

Besides green energy another top issue of the agenda is the possibility of partnerships in sports events, given the fact that London will be hosting the 2012 Olympics.

The significant British visit to Brazil is seen as the UK offensive in countries which it considers the stars of coming decades, as was announced in a milestone speech at Canning House last year by foreign Secretary William Hague.

The Foreign Secretary was scheduled to visit Brazil at the beginning of the year but the Libyan crisis in which the UK and France are playing a leading role, forced the postponement of the visit.

“My visit is a firm step towards the renewal of links with Latin America. The size and nature of my delegation reflects the significance we assign to close relations with Brazil”, said Clegg in a brief statement released by the British embassy in Brasilia.

“We strongly believe that engaging with emerging powers such as Brazil is the path to follow and besides we have much in common with Brazil: essential values such as democracy and human rights and a firm commitment to promote integration between north and south”.

A meeting has been scheduled between fifteen British university deans and their Brazilian peers to discuss initiatives in the education field. Both countries are interested in sharing technology research and a greater students’ exchange program.

In Rio Deputy PM Clegg will be giving a conference at the 2016 Olympic Games headquarters on the legacy and sustainability of hosting and organizing Olympic and Para-Olympic games.

But in spite of the display, Martin Raven former UK Consul General in Sao Paulo in a piece with BBC says “British business has taken a long time to take Brazil seriously”. Mr. Raven recalls that the most common phrase he heard from visiting British business people was “I had no idea!”

Although some large companies - including HSBC, Diageo, Anglo-American, Cadbury, Rolls Royce, GKN, BAT, BP, Shell and BG - have had a presence in Brazil for many years, several sectors have been ignored. Defence sales have been poor, the retail sector has been absent, and telecoms have left the field to the competition.

And meantime the competition has done well: there are now more international German companies in Sao Paulo alone than in any individual city in Germany.

Raven points out that trading with Brazil is a tough job, “but it will pay off in the end”.

“Brazil is a country of huge contrasts, and for all the caricatures of beaches, carnival, football and violence, there is a depth and breadth in its economy which mean that UK companies have to take the market seriously”.

Therefore “more high-level visits please and not exclusively promoting trade because Brazil should be a partner for the UK in so many other issues - development, climate change, peace-keeping, sport and many, many other sectors”, concludes Raven.

Tags: Brazil, Nick Clegg.

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  • NicoDin

    ”But in spite of the display, Martin Raven former UK Consul General in Sao Paulo in a piece with BBC says “British business has taken a long time to take Brazil seriously”. Mr. Raven recalls that the most common phrase he heard from visiting British business people was “I had no idea!”

    British living in nutshell while only watching their bellies.
    The world had left them behind since long time ago.

    Jun 22nd, 2011 - 05:20 am 0
  • Forgetit87

    Look at what that Raven guy wrote on BBC:

    “there have also been disappointments with both Nick Clegg and William Hague cancelling visits earlier this year at short notice, which naturally disappointed the Brazilians.”

    A week after William Hague officially declared support for Brazil's bid to the SC, Brazil proceeded to support Argentinian claims to a number of islands such as S. Georgia and the Sandwich Islands on which it had before remained silent. A major expression of indifference towards the UK.

    Britain should start to see itself more humbly. Nobody cares what it says, thinks or does up here.

    Jun 22nd, 2011 - 06:07 am 0
  • Redhoyt

    Actually TIT I think you are 'down there'..... all a matter of perspective perhaps.

    Mind you we can happily support Brazil for a seat on the SC because we know that it's never going to happen. There is no way that China, Russia or the U.S. are going to dilute their influence.

    Whether you care about our opinion or not, remember ... it the UK that's 'up there', not Brazil :-)

    Jun 22nd, 2011 - 06:34 am 0
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