Regional Issues Take Center Stage on Final Day of The Atlantic Dialogues
~ Conference addresses Asia’s influence in Africa, South ~
RABAT, Morocco (September 30, 2012) – Opportunities in Africa, South America, Central America, and the Caribbean, along with the role of Asian powers like China and India in the Atlantic, were the focus of the final day of The Atlantic Dialogues.
Tatiana Lacerda Prazeres, Brazil’s secretary of foreign trade with the Ministry of Development, Industry, and Foreign Trade, said that Brazil’s trade with the United States is different than Brazil’s trade with China.
“The difference between the U.S. and China for Brazil in terms of trade [is] the difference between quality and quantity,” she said. “For the U.S., trade is much more diversified. We have more small and medium companies selling to the United States. We have more confidence in doing business with the U.S. than we have with China. We have more products in transactions with the U.S. than with China, and I would say more confidence in diversified trade and cross-trade.”
Lacerda Prazeres was speaking at The Atlantic Dialogues, a high-level gathering of international public- and private-sector leaders from around the Atlantic Basin. The Atlantic Dialogues is organized by the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) in partnership with the OCP Foundation of Morocco.
The U.S.-Brazil and China-Brazil relationships are different for reasons other than trade, said Roberto Adenur, president and CEO of the Centro Brasileiro de Relacoes Internationcionais. “I think it is a simplification to say that China became more important than the United States to Brazil. Brazil–U.S. relations have a long history in many ways much more comprehensive than relations between Brazil and China, which are very much focused now on the economy. We have a broader relationship with the United States.”
On a panel dealing specifically with the challenges facing Latin America and the Caribbean, Craig Kelly, the former the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere, said that narcotrafficking must be dealt with on a hemisphere-wide basis because the demand for narcotics in the United States is part of the problem.
“The U.S. has been very clear in acknowledging that this is a multifaceted problem, we carry a large part of the responsibility,” Kelly said.
Zohra Dawood, the executive director of the Open Society Foundation for South Africa, said on a later panel that African countries are seeing economic growth, but that the growth isn’t necessarily going toward stronger democracies.
“African governments have a long, long way to go,” she said. “They have the option of using the dividends, the economic dividends, to strengthen democratically rather than to subvert democratic governance. And certainly in large parts of Africa, that’s what we’re seeing. I find it extremely troubling that during the commodities boom you have the resources to respond, ably, to the very basic needs that are not being responded to.”
At the close of the conference, Mohammed Belmahi, the chairman of the OCP Foundation, declared the conference a success and suggested new topics for next year, including more attention on food security, energy, and economic development.