Monday, October 25

Brazil expects rich nations club to consider more members -sources

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BRASILIA — After waiting for years to join the OECD club of rich nations, Brazil sees an opening with a new membership plan that may be up for discussion at next week’s meeting of ministers, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The 36-nation Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development is a forum for democratic countries with solid market economies. Chile, Mexico and Colombia are the only countries in Latin America that have managed to join.

Brazil’s accession process, begun in 2017, has stalled in part due to US opposition to expanding the OECD to Eastern European nations, even as former President Donald Trump voiced support for Brazilian membership.

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Now the organization’s new secretary-general, Australian politician Mathias Cormann has proposed including six candidates for entry in a simultaneous accession process, a Brazilian government official told Reuters.

With three Latin American aspirants ‒ Brazil, Argentina and Peru ‒ and three Eastern European candidates ‒ Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia ‒ the idea is to dilute resistance to any particular country joining, the source said on condition of anonymity.

France has been reluctant to welcome Brazil into the OECD due to President Jair Bolsonaro’s policies on the environment, suggesting Brazil must first show progress fighting deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.

Cormann has been talking privately with member countries to gather support for his proposal before formally presenting it at the Oct. 5-6 meeting in Paris, said the source. Another person with knowledge of the matter confirmed the proposal. Both requested anonymity to discuss confidential negotiations.

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“The European Union has always supported this formula, but without the United States laying down its position, many countries prefer to wait,” the Brazilian official said.

Brazil has held out hope that joining the OECD would boost investor confidence as it battles high inflation and unemployment and the lingering impacts of the world’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak outside the United States.

Asked for comment, Brazil’s Economy Ministry said there was no clear definition on the issue. (Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu, additional reporting by Marcela Ayres, writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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