BNDES could finance South American infrastructure

28/06/2003 - 0h11

Medelín (Columbia), 30/6/2003 (Agência Brasil - ABr) - In remarks made at the XIV Summit of the Andean Presidential Council, president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva declared that the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) could finance infrastructure development in South America and that the subject would be discussed at a meeting next week in Caracas.

Lula also invited the Andean countries to present projects at a BNDES-Andean Foment Corporation seminar in Rio de Janeiro in August. Lula signalled that he was strongly committed to projects in transportation, communication and energy. "We have to work toward integrating these areas in South America," said the Brazilian president.

Lula told the Andean Summit that Mercosur had decided to implant a free trade zone with the Andean Community by the end of this year, adding that such integration could not remain limited to commerce and tariffs, but had to go beyond and embrace productive chain integration policies.

Lula called for an ample pact dealing with the region's biggest problems and once again presented his campaign against hunger. "Brazil wants South American integration that goes beyond rhetoric. This is a far-ranging idea with the goal of improving the well-being of our people," he said.

Lula said that with regard to the Free Trade Area of the Americas negotiations, presently presided over by Brazil and the United States, the idea was to conclude them on schedule in 2005. But for that to happen it was essential for the US to open its markets to developing nation goods, especially farm produce, textiles and steel. "What good is it to have an agreement on 80% or 90% of our exports, if the 10% or 20% that is left out is of greatest interest to us?" asked Lula. (AB)