I would like to start by thanking CNA, and especially President João Martins da Silva for the invitation to speak today at this important event. I would also like to thank CNA the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food Supply (MAPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for organizing this opportunity to engage in productive dialogue on issues that are extremely important for the agricultural sectors of both our countries.
It is a significant moment in our bilateral relationship, described by President Obama as a “new, more ambitious chapter in the relationship between our countries.”
Brazil and the United States are two of the largest global agricultural powers. Farmers from both countries share similar cultivation techniques, lead in the production of key commodities, and represent the only sector in both countries with a trade surplus. At the same time, both agricultural sectors face similar challenges related to market access, support programs, and climate change. We work together to address market access issues in third countries, conduct research and encourage innovation, and be global leaders in combatting climate change. Two good examples of this collaboration are the research linkages between EMBRAPA and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and the High Level Working Groups between USDA and MAPA to coordinate policy at agricultural international organizations.
One of the clearest examples of this partnership is today’s event, which was the result of strong collaboration between USDA, CNA, and MAPA. When I first met with Minister Abreu early this year,we discussed the need for our countries to work closely together and share information on how best to provide multi-year support for producers. I know that USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack also fully supports information exchanges between the United States and Brazil.
Today, you will hear about U.S. agricultural trade policy and how it supports trade. This is a topic that it is extremely important for the agricultural sectors in both of our countries. When President Obama and President Rousseff met in Washington in June, they committed to expanding trade and investment and I’m encouraged to hear that CNA also supports these efforts and look forward to our continued engagements on how to boost bilateral trade.
Although the United States and Brazil compete in international commodity markets, our relationship is underpinned by strong collaboration in agricultural research, shared interests in open markets, the elimination of trade distorting policies and barriers, and efforts to deal with climate change and food security. These are just a few examples that describe the strength and potential of our relationship. When I consider our bilateral relationship, I am constantly reminded of Vice President Biden’s statement last year when he visited Brazil: “the sky is literally the limit of what we can achieve together.”
I know this certainly applies to our agricultural relationship. As a vital sector for both of our economies, I encourage you to continue this partnership and dialogue to address the opportunities and challenges we both face. You represent a proven model of how partnering together can further strengthen the bonds between the United States and Brazil to do many great things.