Foreign relations of Brazil
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
The Ministry of External Relations is responsible for managing the foreign relations of Brazil. Brazil is a significant political and economic power in Latin America and a key player on the world stage. Brazil's foreign policy reflects its role as a regional power and a potential world power and is designed to help protect the country's national interests, national security, ideological goals, and economic prosperity.
Between World War II and 1990, both democratic and military governments sought to expand Brazil's influence in the world by pursuing a state-led industrial policy and an independent foreign policy. Brazilian foreign policy has recently aimed to strengthen ties with other South American countries, engage in multilateral diplomacy through the United Nations and the Organization of American States, and act at times as a countervailing force to U.S. political and economic influence in Latin America.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Foreign policy
- 3 Regional policy
- 4 Diplomatic relations
- 5 United Nations politics
- 6 Outstanding international issues
- 7 Foreign aid
- 8 Participation in international organizations
- 9 Bilateral relations
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Brazil's international relations are based on article 4 of the Federal Constitution, which establishes non-intervention, self-determination, international cooperation and the peaceful settlement of conflicts as the guiding principles of Brazil's relationship with other countries and multilateral organizations. According to the Constitution, the President has ultimate authority over foreign policy, while Congress is tasked with reviewing and considering all diplomatic nominations and international treaties, as well as legislation relating to Brazilian foreign policy.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also known as Itamaraty, is the government department responsible for advising the President and conducting Brazil's foreign relations with other countries and international bodies. Itamaraty's scope includes political, commercial, economic, financial, cultural and consular relations, areas in which it performs the classical tasks of diplomacy: represent, inform and negotiate. Foreign policy priorities are established by the President.
Brazil's foreign policy is a by-product of the country's unique position as a regional power in Latin America, a leader among developing countries, and an emerging world power. Brazilian foreign policy has generally been based on the principles of multilateralism, peaceful dispute settlement, and non-intervention in the affairs of other countries. Brazil engages in multilateral diplomacy through the Organization of American States and the United Nations, and has increased ties with developing countries in Africa and Asia. Brazil is currently commanding a multinational U.N. stabilization force in Haiti, the MINUSTAH. Instead of pursuing unilateral prerogatives, Brazilian foreign policy has tended to emphasize regional integration, first through the Southern Cone Common Market (Mercosul) and now the Union of South American Nations. Brazil is also committed to cooperation with other Portuguese-speaking nations through joint-collaborations with the rest of the Portuguese-speaking world, in several domains which include military cooperation, financial aid, and cultural exchange. This is done in the framework of CPLP, for instance. Lula da Silva's recent visit to Africa included State visits to three Portuguese-speaking African nations (Angola, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Mozambique). Finally, Brazil is also strongly committed in the development and restoration of peace in East Timor, where it has a very powerful influence.
Brazil's political, business, and military ventures are complemented by the country's trade policy. In Brazil, the Ministry of Foreign Relations continues to dominate trade policy, causing the country's commercial interests to be (at times) subsumed by a larger foreign policy goal, namely, enhancing Brazil's influence in Latin America and the world. For example, while concluding meaningful trade agreements with developed countries (such as the United States and the European Union) would probably be beneficial to Brazil's long-term economic self-interest, the Brazilian government has instead prioritized its leadership role within Mercosul and expanded trade ties with countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Brazil's soft power diplomacy involves institutional strategies such as the formation of diplomatic coalitions to constrain the power of the established great powers. In recent years, it has given high priority in establishing political dialogue with other strategic actors such as India, Russia, China and South Africa through participation in international groupings such as BASIC, IBSA and BRICS. The BRICS states have been amongst the most powerful drivers of incremental change in world diplomacy and they benefit most from the connected global power shifts.
Lula da Silva administration
The Brazilian foreign policy under the Lula da Silva administration had been focused on the following directives: to contribute toward the search for greater equilibrium and attenuate unilateralism; to strengthen bilateral and multilateral relations in order to increase the country's weight in political and economic negotiations on an international level; to deepen relations so as to benefit from greater economical, financial, technological and cultural interchange; to avoid agreements that could jeopardize development in the long term.
These directives implied precise emphasis on: the search for political coordination with emerging and developing countries, namely India, South Africa, Russia and China; creation of the Union of South American Nations and its derivative bodies, such as the South American Security Council; strengthening of Mercosul; projection at the Doha Round and WTO; maintenance of relations with developed countries, including the United States; undertaking and narrowing of relations with African countries; campaign for the reform of the United Nations Security Council and for a permanent seat for Brazil; and defense of social objectives allowing for a greater equilibrium between the States and populations.
The foreign policy under the Rousseff administration has sought to deepen Brazil's regional commercial dominance and diplomacy, expand Brazil's presence in Africa, and play a major role in the G20 on climate change and in other multilateral settings.
At the United Nations, Brazil continues to oppose sanctions and foreign military intervention, while seeking to garner support for a permanent seat at the Security Council. Cooperation with other emerging powers remain a top priority in Brazil's global diplomatic strategy. On the recent airstrike resolution supporting military action in Libya, Brazil joined fellow BRICS in the Council and abstained. On the draft resolution condemning violence in Syria, Brazil worked with India and South Africa to try to bridge the Western powers' divide with Russia and China.
Over the past decade, Brazil has firmly established itself as a regional power. It has traditionally been a leader in the inter-American community and played an important role in collective security efforts, as well as in economic cooperation in the Western Hemisphere. Brazilian foreign policy supports economic and political integration efforts in order to reinforce long-standing relationships with its neighbors. It is a founding member of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty). It has given high priority to expanding relations with its South American neighbors and strengthening regional bodies such as the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and Mercosur. Although integration is the primary purpose of these organizations, they also serve as forums in which Brazil can exercise its leadership and develop consensus around its positions on regional and global issues. By promoting integration through organizations like Mercosur and UNASUR, Brazil has been able to solidify its role as a regional power. In addition to consolidating its power within South America, Brazil has sought to expand its influence in the broader region by increasing its engagement in the Caribbean and Central America.
Brazil regularly extends export credits and university scholarships to its Latin American neighbors. In recent years, the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) has provided US$5 billion worth of loans to countries in the region. Brazil has also increasingly provided Latin American nations with financial aid and technical assistance. Between 2005 and 2009, Cuba, Haiti, and Honduras were the top three recipients of Brazilian assistance, receiving over $50 million annually.
Brazil has a large global network of diplomatic missions, and maintains diplomatic relations with every United Nations member state, in addition to Palestine and the Holy See. As of 2011, Brazil's diplomatic network consisted of 179 overseas posts.
Relations with non-U.N. member states:
- Kosovo - Brazil does not recognize Kosovo as an independent state and has announced it has no plans to do so without an agreement with Serbia.
- Taiwan - Brazil does not recognize the Republic of China (Taiwan), although it maintains a special office in Taipei.
United Nations politics
Brazil is a founding member of the United Nations and participates in all of its specialized agencies. It has participated in 33 United Nations peacekeeping missions and contributed with over 27,000 soldiers. Brazil has been a member of the United Nations Security Council ten times, most recently 2010-2011. Along with Japan, Brazil has been elected more times to the Security Council than any other U.N. member state.
Brazil is currently seeking a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. It is a member of the G4, an alliance among Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan for the purpose of supporting each other’s bids for permanent seats on the Security Council. They propose the Security Council be expanded beyond the current 15 members to include 25 members. The G4 countries argue that a reform would render the body "more representative, legitimate, effective and responsive" to the realities of the international community in the 21st century.
Outstanding international issues
- Two short sections of the border with Uruguay are in dispute - the Arroio Invernada area of the Quaraí River, and the Brazilian Island at the confluence of the Quaraí River and the Uruguay River.
- Brazil declared in 1986 the sector between 28°W to 53°W Brazilian Antarctica (Antártica Brasileira) as its Zone of Interest. It overlaps Argentine and British claims
- In 2004, the country submitted its claims to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) to extend its maritime continental margin.
Overseas aid has become an increasingly important tool for Brazil's foreign policy. Brazil provides aid to various countries in Africa and Latin America through the Brazilian Agency of Cooperation (Abbreviation: ABC; Portuguese: Agência Brasileira de Cooperação), in addition to offering scientific, economical, and technical support to programs in various countries. Estimated to be around $1 billion annually, Brazil is on par with China and India and ahead of many more traditional donor countries. The aid tends to consist of technical aid and expertise, alongside a quiet non-confrontational diplomacy to development results. Brazil's aid demonstrates a developing pattern of South-South aid, which has been heralded as a 'global model in waiting'.
Participation in international organizations
ACS(Observer) • ACTO • AfDB • BIS • Cairns Group • CAN(Associate) • CDB • CPLP • FAO • G4 • BASIC countries • G8+5 • G15 • G20 • G20+ • G24 • G77 • IADB • IDB • IAEA • IBRD • IBSA •ICAO • ICC • ICRM • IDA • IFAD • IFC • IFRCS • IHO • ILO • IMF • IMO • Inmarsat •INSARAG • Intelsat • Interpol • IOC • IOM • ISO • ITU • LAES • LAIA • Latin Union • Mercosul • MINUSTAH • NAM(Observer) • NSG • OAS • OEI • OPANAL • OPCW • PCA • Rio Group • Rio Treaty • UN • UNASUR • UNCTAD • UNESCO • UNHCR • UNIDO • UNITAR • UNMIL • UNMIS • UNMOVIC • UNOCI • UNTAET • UNWTO • UPU • WCO • WHO • WIPO • WMO • WTO • ZPCAS
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Angola||See Angola–Brazil relations
As of November 2007, "trade between the two countries is booming as never before".
|Argentina||See Argentina–Brazil relations
After democratization, a strong integration and partnership began between the two countries. In 1985 they signed the basis for the MERCOSUL, a Regional Trade Agreement. In the field of science, the two regional giants had been rivals since the 1950s when both governments launched parallel nuclear and space programs, however, several agreements were signed since then such as the creation of the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC) to verify both countries' pledges to use nuclear energy only for peaceful purposes. National spaces agencies CONAE and the AEB had also began working together since the 1990s. Brazil's decision to prevent a Royal Navy ship docking in Rio de Janeiro was seen as backing Argentina over the Falklands dispute.
Also on the military side there has been greater rapprochement. In accordance with the friendship policy, both armies dissolved or moved major units previously located at their common border (for example, Argentine's 7th Jungle and 3rd Motorized Infantry Brigades). Brazilian soldiers are embedded in the Argentine peacekeeping contingent at UNFICYP in Cyprus and they are working together at MINUSTAH in Haiti and, as another example of collaboration, Argentine Navy aircraft routinely operate from the Brazilian Navy carrier NAe São Paulo.
|Australia||See Australia-Brazil relations|
|Barbados||1971-11-26||See Barbados–Brazil relations|
|Bhutan||2009-09-21||See Bhutan–Brazil relations|
|Canada||See Brazil–Canada relations
Brazil-Canada relations have been cordial but relatively limited, although the relationship between the two countries has been gradually evolving over time. Canada has an embassy in Brasília, and consulates in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte. Brazil has an embassy in Ottawa and consulates in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
|Chile||See Brazil–Chile relations
Chile and Brazil have acted numerous times as mediators in international conflicts, such as in the 1914 diplomatic impasse between the United States and Mexico, avoiding a possible state of war between those two countries. More recently, since the 2004 Haiti rebellion, Chile and Brazil have actively participated in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, which is led by the Brazilian Army. They are also two of the three most important economies in South America along with Argentina.
|China||See Brazil–People's Republic of China relations|
|Cuba||See Cuba–Brazil relations
Brazilian-Cuban relations were classified as "excellent" in May 2008 following a meeting of foreign ministers. During a January 2008 state visit to Cuba by Brazilian President Lula da Silva, the Brazilian leader expressed desire for his country to be Cuba's "number one partner".
Bilateral trade increased by 58% between April 2007 and April 2008.
|Czech Republic||See Czech Brazilians|
|Denmark||See Brazil-Denmark relations|
|Finland||April 8, 1929||Brazil recognised the independence of Finland on December 26, 1919. Brazil has an embassy in Helsinki. Finland has an embassy in Brasília, honorary consulate generals in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo and other honorary consulates in Belém, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Porto Alegre, Recife, Salvador and Vitória.|
|France||See Brazil–France relations
France has recognized Brazil as its special partner in South America and as a global player in international affairs. The two countries are committed to strengthening their bilateral cooperation in the areas for which working groups have been created: nuclear power, renewable energies, defence technologies, technological innovation, joint cooperation in African countries and space technologies, medicines and the environment.
|Greece||See Greco-Brazilian relations
The countries have enjoyed "Bilateral relations [that] have always been good and are progressing smoothly," according to the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
|Guyana||See Brazil–Guyana relations
Brazil–Guyana relations have traditionally been close. Brazil has provided military assistance to Guyana in the form of warfare training and logistics. Bilateral relations between the countries have recently increased, as a result of Brazil's new South-South foreign policy aimed to strengthen South American integration.
|India||See Brazil–India relations
The two countries share similar perceptions on issues of interest to developing countries and have cooperated in the multilateral level on issues such as international trade and development, environment, reform of the UN and the UNSC expansion.
|Iraq||1967||See Brazil–Iraq relations
Brazil maintains an embassy in Baghdad and Iraq maintains an embassy in Brasília. Both countries are full members of the Group of 77. Brazil was the first Latin American country to reopen its embassy in Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War.
|Israel||1949-2-7||See Brazil–Israel relations
Brazil has the 9th largest Jewish community in the world, about 107,329 by 2010. Brazil played a large role in the establishment of the State of Israel. Brazil held the Presidency office of the UN General Assembly in 1947, which proclaimed the Partition Plan for Palestine. Brazil was also one of the first countries to recognize the State of Israel, on 7 February 1949, less than one year after Israeli Declaration of Independence. The first Israeli embassy was opened in 1955 in Rio de Janeiro, then capital of Brazil, with David Shaltiel as the first ambassador. Nowadays, Israel has an embassy in Brasília, and Brazil has an embassy in Tel Aviv.
|Jamaica||1962-10-14||See Jamaica–Brazil relations
Both countries are full members of the Group of 15.
|Japan||See Japanese Brazilian, Dekasegi|
|Mexico||7 August 1824||See Brazil–Mexico relations
Brazil and Mexico have the two largest emerging economies in Latin-America and the global stage. Both nations are considered to be regional powers and highly influential within the American continent. Both nations have historically been friendly and they have both participated in and are members of several multilateral organizations such as the G20, Organization of American States, Organization of Ibero-American States, Rio Group and the United Nations. Several high-level diplomatic meeting have been held by presidents of both nations to enhance bilateral relations.
|Nigeria||See Brazil–Nigeria relations
Bilateral relations between Nigeria and Brazil focus primarily upon trade and culture. The largest country in Latin America by size, and the largest country in Africa by population are remotely bordered across from one another by the Atlantic Ocean. Brazil and Nigeria for centuries, have enjoyed a warmly, friendly, and strong relationship on the bases of culture (many Afro-Brazilians trace their ancestry to Nigeria) and commercial trade.
|Pakistan||See Brazil–Pakistan relations
Brazil-Pakistan relations are characterized as friendly and cooperative. Brazil maintains an embassy in Islamabad and Pakistan maintains an embassy in Brasília. In 2008, Brazil approved the sale of 100 MAR-1 anti-radiation missiles to Pakistan despite India's pressure on Brazil to avoid doing so.
|Paraguay||See Paraguay–Brazil relations
Paraguay–Brazil relations have improved greatly after Brazilian President Lula's decision in 2009 to triple its payments to Paraguay for energy from a massive hydro-electric dam on their border, ending a long-running dispute. Under the accord, Brazil will pay Paraguay $360m a year for energy from the jointly-operated Itaipu plant. Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva called it a "historic agreement" and the deal slated as a political victory for Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo.
|Philippines||See Philippines–Brazil relations
On June 2009, Brazil and the Philippines made their pledges as they signed mutual cooperation agreements in the fields of bio-energy and agriculture. The two countries committed themselves to take the necessary steps to implement the signed Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Agriculture and the Memorandum of Understanding on Bioenergy Cooperation. The Philippines and Brazil signed six memoranda of understanding and agreements on the development and production of renewable energy, and agriculture cooperation. It intends to “facilitate technical cooperation... on the production and use of biofuels, particularly ethanol, and promote the expansion of bilateral trade and investment in biofuel,”
|Poland||See Poland–Brazil relations|
|Portugal||See Brazil–Portugal relations
Portugal and Brazil have countless bilateral agreements in areas such as culture, language, R&D, immigration, defence, tourism, economy, environment, among others. Portugal and Brazil hold regular Summits to discuss bilateral and multilateral agreements and current topics (last one in Bahia in 2008, before that one in Porto in 2005). One rather controversial topic was the spelling reform that aims at homogenising spelling in lusophone countries. Both countries share a common heritage and are committed in its preservation, be it through bilateral agreements or involving other nations, such as in the framework of CPLP. Both countries lobby within the UN to upgrade Portuguese to a working language in that Organisation. Portugal has also lobbied for Brazil to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Finally, Portugal hosted the 1st EU-Brazil summit, in 2007.
|Russia||See Brazil–Russia relations
Brazil–Russia relations have seen a significant improvement in recent years, characterized by an increasing commercial trade and cooperation in military and technology segments. Today, Brazil shares an important alliance with the Russian Federation, with partnerships in areas such as space and military technologies, and telecommunications.
|Serbia||1946||See Brazil–Serbia relations|
|South Africa||See Brazil – South Africa relations
Brazil-South Africa relations have traditionally been close. Brazil has provided military assistance to South Africa in the form of warfare training and logistics. Bilateral relations between the countries have recently increased, as a result of Brazil's new South-South foreign policy aimed to strengthen integration between the major powers of the developing world. South Africa is part of the IBSA Dialogue Forum, alongside Brazil and India.
Despite cultural similarities between the two countries, diplomatic foreign relations between Brasília and Madrid have not always been excellent. The main reason for this being Brazil's maligning of the Spanish government's little effort to respond to the visa crises involving political refugees from Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
|United States||See Brazil – United States relations
Brazil-United States relations has a long history, characterized by some moments of remarkable convergence of interests but also by sporadic and critical divergences on sensitive international issues. The United States has increasingly regarded Brazil as a significant power, especially in its role as a stabilizing force and skillful interlocutor in Latin America. As a significant political and economic power, Brazil has traditionally preferred to cooperate with the United States on specific issues rather than seeking to develop an all-encompassing, privileged relationship with the United States.
|Uruguay||See Brazil–Uruguay relations
Brazil and Uruguay are neighboring countries that share close historical, cultural and geographical ties. The singularity of the bilateral relationship between the two countries originates from the strong historical connection - marked by important events, such as the establishment of the Colônia do Sacramento in 1680, the annexation by Brazil and the subsequent creation of the Província Cisplatina in 1815, and Uruguay's independence from Brazil in 1828.
Vietnam established a Consulate General in São Paulo in 1998, and upgraded it to Embassy status in 2000. The Brazilian Embassy in Hanoi was opened in 1994, being the first Latin American country to open an Embassy in Hanoi. Vietnamese Presidents Le Duc Anh and Tran Duc Luong have visited Brazil in October 1995 and November 2004, respectively.
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- Brazil and the United Nations
- Brazil and weapons of mass destruction
- Brazilian Antarctica
- List of diplomatic missions in Brazil
- List of diplomatic missions of Brazil
- Ministry of Foreign Relations of Brazil
- Union of South American Nations
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