Russia-brazil: From Niva Cars To Space

For the first time in the post-Soviet times, Russian-Brazilian relations are living through an unprecedented upswing. Last year the bilateral trade turnover reached 1.6 billion dollars' worth. Although it is not a large figure, the tendency speaks volumes, minding that an almost 70-percent increment happened within a span of one year. Moreover, Russia and Brazil see the attainment of a two-billion trade turnover as quite a feasible goal. Russia's export to Brazil is made up mostly of fertilizer, metals and alloys, chemicals. In return, Brazil supplies to Russia mostly tobacco, sugar, coffee and other foods. The sides believe that time has come to retarget their cooperation from primary materials to industrial products, manufacture of all kind of products, such as high-tech, by a joint effort. The priorities can be found in the nuclear power industry, space exploration, telecommunications, transport, agriculture and the related industries, research work, military-technical cooperation. Broad prospects lie open before cooperation in space research. Mucio Diaz, president of the Brazilian Space Agency, has been staying in Russia for a week, conducting negotiations on the project of joint launch of Russian, Brazilian and Ukrainian satellites. This project costs 15 million dollars, or more than ten times less than a sum outlined to Brazil for a similar project by the United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Also in consideration has been the matter of arranging in Brazil screwdriver assembly manufacture of Russian Niva cars, buses and trolley-buses on the basis of Russian-made chassis, as well as establishing joint ventures in Russia to turn out goods made of Brazilian leather and juices. Russia is also of interest to Brazilian businessmen as a potential supplier of equipment for the oil and gas industry, as a country capable of arranging supplies of medical equipment, as well as geological, drilling and research equipment. Russia is interested in arranging cooperation with Brazil in the field of fishing. Particularly, Russia would like to discuss the matter of issuing to Russian fishermen of quotas for fishing in Brazilian waters, which abound in biological resources. It is beyond doubt that the financial scheme of cooperation, also in the credit sphere, calls for perfection. Now more than a half of mutual trade turnover is passing through the firms and banks of third countries, which adds up to the price of supplies. In 2000 a high-level commission for cooperation was set up. It is led by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and Brazilian Vice-President Marco Maciel. All said and told, the importance of contacts with Brazil is clearly emphasized: Russia has similar commissions only with the United States, France, China and Ukraine.

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