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Brazilian president criticizes U.S. monetary policy in visit with Obama

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 Click on photo to enlarge or download: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff tells business leaders that the depreciation of the dollar impairs emerging countries’ growth. She spoke after meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House. SHFWire photo by Robin SiteneskiClick on photo to enlarge or download: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff tells business leaders that the depreciation of the dollar impairs emerging countries’ growth. She spoke after meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House. SHFWire photo by Robin SiteneskiWASHINGTON – In a visit with President Barack Obama Monday, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said U.S. monetary policy may hurt the growth of emerging countries.

Sitting next to Obama in the Oval Office after a meting that lasted twice as long as it was scheduled to last, Rousseff echoed Brazilian business owners’ complaints about the value of the dollar.

The near-zero benchmark lending rates in the U.S. create a flow of money to emerging countries. That pushes the value of the dollar down against other currencies and makes Brazilian products less competitive.

Rousseff said she talked to Obama about Brazil’s concern with what she called monetary expansion without fiscal policies based on investment expansion to back it. She said that monetary expansion policies alone “ultimately lead to a depreciation in the value of the currencies of emerging countries - rather they lead to a depreciation in the value of the currency of developed countries, thus impairing growth outlooks in emerging countries.”

Obama did not comment on her remarks.

During the meeting with Rousseff, Obama said Brazil is becoming “a global player” when it comes to oil and gas exploration.

"The good news is that the relationship between Brazil and the United States has never been stronger, but we always have even greater improvements that can be made,” Obama said.

Obama recalled his stated intention that by this year the U.S. would process visas 40 percent faster for Brazilians who want to visit the United States. The State Department announced the U.S. is opening two new consulates in Brazil – in Porto Alegre and Belo Horizonte.

He reaffirmed his appreciation for Brazil’s aspiration to become a permanent member of the Security Council but did not say he supports it as the United Kingdom has done.

Click on photo to enlarge or download: About 25 Brazilian embassy and consulates employees protest outside the Chamber of Commerce, where President Dilma Rousseff was speaking. They said they lack career plans and adequate pay. SHFWire photo by Robin SiteneskiClick on photo to enlarge or download: About 25 Brazilian embassy and consulates employees protest outside the Chamber of Commerce, where President Dilma Rousseff was speaking. They said they lack career plans and adequate pay. SHFWire photo by Robin SiteneskiLater Monday afternoon Rousseff went to a conference sponsored by the Brazil-U.S. Business Council at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, just across the street from the White House. She talked about the currency issue again.

“Brazil repudiates every form of protectionism,” she said to business leaders and Brazilian politicians, “including exchange-rate protectionism.”

She said the U.S. capacity to react to the economic crisis was due to its leadership in  science and innovation. Both presidents said they support setting up student exchange programs.

The visit also generated cooperation agreements. Among them is an aviation partnership that includes Boeing and the Brazilian Embraer, the first- and third-biggest airplane manufactures in the world. The companies will work together to develop biofuel for airplanes.

While Rousseff spoke at the Chamber of Commerce, about 25 Brazilian embassy and consulate employees protested outside. Antonio Carlos di Gaspero, one of the founders of the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Local Hired Employees, said they were asking for a career plan and raises.

“We are in a legal limbo,” he said.

The Brazilian employees work in the U.S. but are officially in Brazilian territory and are not entitled to labor rights by either country, di Gaspero said. He said they handed out a letter with their complains to Brazilian Foreign Affairs Minister Antonio Aguiar Patriota.

Rousseff went to Boston on Tuesday to visit Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She’ll also meet with Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. Rousseff and  Obama are going to the Summit of the Americas in Colombia this weekend.

Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters visited Brazil last year.

Reach reporter Robin Siteneski at siteneskir@shns.com or 202-326-9868. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.

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