Medvedev aims to increase trade with Brazil

President Dmitry Medvedev aims to increase Russia-Brazil trade to $US 10 billion within the next few years. He made a statement to that effect at a Tuesday meeting with Russian and Brazilian businessmen.

“Russia and Brazil are significant partners. Brazil ranks first by trade amount in Latin America. Our trade reached $US 5 billion in 2007. I think we may increase trade to $10 billion within the next few years,” he said.

The President visited the Rio de Janeiro headquarters of the state petroleum company Petrobras earlier in the day. The company presented deepwater shelf hydrocarbon projects and a biofuel programme.

In the coming ten years, Brazil is set to join the world’s top ten energy producers and Russian companies are eager to gain such a partner. At a meeting with Brazilian businessmen Medvedev talked about developing ties.

Our countries have relations that could be described as strategic,“ he said. ”Both countries are developing in a similiar way and setting a convincing example of how modern countries can develop and become leaders of economic growth. And I believe that nothing can stop this growth, not even the current ugly economic crisis.”

Gas, military and technology deals will all be on the table as Russian President Dmitry Medvedev continues his three-day visit to Brazil. The trip is part of his Latin American tour. The two countries may also agree to visa-free travel for short-term visitors.

The Russian leader will hold talks with his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The leaders are due to sign agreements on energy, oil and gas as well as military and technical co-operation.

Friends forever

Russia and Brazil are on opposite sides of the world but there is a lot that connects them.
Brazilians are widely regarded as the world’s best footballers. A lot of them play for Russian clubs, and CSKA’s Wagner Love is the Russian league’s highest scorer.

Two Brazilian football schools operate in Russia. They teach the local kids to play like the stars – Wagner, Ronaldinho, Kaka and Robinho.

Young footballer Dima Kochura said he likes watching the Brazilian game.
 
“It is famous for perfect coordination and movements,” he said.  He said the players often had “supreme technique”. Kochura added that he and his colleagues study Brazilian players because they “want to be just like them.”

But the sporting spirit isn’t the only connection between the countries.

This Russian church in the middle of Rio de Janeiro has a modest but a very devoted parish. It was build next to Favelas, a poor area with a high crime rate.

Father Vasily moved to Rio with his family. He admits it was hard at first but he managed to find the right approach to get along with the locals.

Many who attend mass here are descendants of Russian immigrants who came to Brazil after the Revolution.

Militsa’s grandfather served in the tsarist army.  She had to flee to China with her family. Then, after the communists took over, they traveled to Brazil.
  
But it’s not just faith that brings her to this church.  She said as she gets older she feels more strongly about her origins.

“So coming here, it is a piece of Russia,” Militsa said. 

Where Brazil once offered Russians a refuge, today it offers them opportunities.

The country is Russia’s largest business partner in South America.

Agriculture is a key area of cooperation but many predict energy will take centre-stage.

Russian companies Gazprom and Lukoil, have worked in joint projects with Brazilian partners. The Brazilian State oil company, Petrobras, is planning to develop gas production and could benefit from Russian expertise.
 
Latin America has become an important area in Russian foreign policy. Both Russia and Brazil belong to the BRIC economic block – some of the world’s fastest-growing emerging economies.
 
And with Brazil likely to take a leading role in the region, Moscow is keen to make it a partner.