Lula in Berlin for First Brazil-Germany Talks in Eight Years

Lula in Berlin for First Brazil-Germany Talks in Eight Years

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is set to land in Berlin on Sunday for the first Brazilian-German government consultations in eight years as Latin America and Europe's largest economies seek to revive ties.

Lula has jetted across the globe since returning to office in January, trying to restore Brazil's standing on the global stage after years of diplomatic isolation under his far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro, to mixed results.

He is expected to have dinner on Sunday with fellow leftist, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, before the consultations on Monday, Reuters reported.

Scholz was the first foreign leader to visit Lula in Brazil, just weeks after his inauguration.

The German Chancellor has been on a quest since taking office in late 2021 to improve ties with the Global South. Germany also considers Brazil a key partner in its bid to diversify its trade, in part to reduce its reliance on China, and plug a gap in skilled labor.

Both countries are pushing for a quick trade deal between the European Union and Mercosur, South America's major trading bloc over which Brazil currently presides.

"It is known that we support and strive for this agreement and also want it to be concluded really swiftly," a spokesperson for the German economy ministry said on Friday.

A trade treaty was agreed in principle in 2019 after two decades of talks, but additional environmental commitments demanded by the EU led Brazil and Argentina to seek new concessions that prolonged negotiations.

"Free trade agreements open access to new markets that in particular the export-oriented German economy can benefit from," said Lukas Koehler, a senior lawmaker with the Free Democrats (FDP), junior partner in Scholz's three-way coalition.

German exports to Brazil however have grown just 3% in the last ten years compared to 38% and 87% for US and Chinese exports to Brazil respectively, according to the Latin America Committee of German Business.

Scholz will be hoping to avoid a scenario like in January when his visit to Brazil was overshadowed by differences over the Russia-Ukraine war. This time, the news conference on Monday afternoon could highlight their differences over the Israeli war on Gaza.

Lula last month said Israel was committing terrorism against Palestinians "by not taking into account that children are not at war, that women are not at war". Scholz by contrast has avoided such criticism and continuously backed Israel's so-called "right to defend itself".

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