Brazil complains to US about monetary policy

White House meeting between two heads of state touched on low interest rates and sanctions on Iran.

    The meeting highlighted strains between the two countries. [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]
    The meeting highlighted strains between the two countries. [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

    Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has complained about US monetary policy and expressed concern that sanctions against Iran could backfire in a meeting with President Barack Obama.

    Rousseff said low interest rates and other expansionist policies in wealthy nations have created an excess of global liquidity, which in turn has the unintended effect of damaging growth in poorer countries such as Brazil.

    She also raised concerns with Obama that sanctions against Iran could fuel tensions in the Middle East and cause a spike in oil prices, threatening the global economic recovery, sources told Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity.

    Her comments on Monday punctuated a generally cordial White House visit that yielded some modest advances in cooperation on aviation and technology sharing, but also exposed clear differences on trade, economic policy and foreign affairs.

    "Expansionist monetary policies … ultimately lead to a depreciation in the value of the currencies of developed countries, thus impairing growth outlooks in emerging countries," Rousseff told reporters in the Oval Office, as Obama looked on.

    Obama, who spoke first, struck a more conciliatory tone, calling Rousseff a "good friend." He congratulated Brazil for making "extraordinary progress" in reducing poverty.

    "Our trade and investment is reaching record levels, which creates jobs and business opportunities in both countries," Obama said.

    Brazil came into the meeting seeking greater US recognition for its recent economic rise and increased investment in its economy, which has stalled in recent months.

    The White House wants greater access for US companies to Brazil's growing consumer market of about 190 million people, which could help drive job growth in the United States.

    There were no major breakthroughs. But the leaders' meeting ran for more than 75 minutes, half an hour longer than scheduled, in what officials from both countries described as a hopeful sign that they can establish better communication on key issues going forward.

    A senior Brazilian official told Reuters the conversation included disagreements about Cuba and the Middle East but that the overall tenor and attention devoted to Brazil's concerns was "much better than anyone expected."

    "I think there was a click today" between Obama and Rousseff, the official said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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