Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 2:18 pm on 3rd May 1995.

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Photo of Mr Jacques Arnold Mr Jacques Arnold , Gravesham 2:18 pm, 3rd May 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what he is doing to promote the United Kingdom's diplomatic and trade relations with Brazil; and if he will make a statement. [20421]

Photo of David Davis David Davis Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

We are actively promoting our already excellent relations with Brazil. We look forward to President Cardoso's visit this weekend for the commemoration of VE day.

UK-Brazilian two-way trade grew to £1.4 billion in 1994, when the Anglo-Brazilian joint business council was founded. This year, we have strengthened our commercial representation in Brazil, with the new trade offices which I announced in Porto Alegre and Curitiba. Brazil is also a prime focus of the joint DTI-Foreign Office campaign, called Link into Latin America, which was launched at the Confederation of British Industry by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade on 17 January, during the conference in London of British ambassadors in Latin America.

Photo of Mr Jacques Arnold Mr Jacques Arnold , Gravesham

Is not the rapid redevelopment of trade between this country and Brazil, which is one of the largest economies in the world, a matter of great satisfaction? Does my hon. Friend agree that we should stress repeatedly that the reason why President Cardoso is coming here for the VE day celebrations, and will be taking quite a prominent place, is that we remember that nearly 30,000 Brazilian troops fought alongside our troops in Italy during the second world war, that Brazil was the only Latin American country to provide troops, and that its contribution to the allied war effort is very much appreciated?

Photo of David Davis David Davis Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

I thank my hon. Friend for drawing the House's attention to Brazil's contribution to the defence of freedom in the last war, especially in this most appropriate of weeks. The last time that my hon. Friend asked me about business and trade with Latin America, my closing words were to the effect that a 21 per cent. growth was not enough. I can tell him that our trade with, and exports to, Brazil went up by some 60 per cent. last year. Having said that, I hope that British business will continue to focus its efforts in Brazil which is our biggest and, I think, fastest-growing market in south America.

Photo of Mr Martin Redmond Mr Martin Redmond , Don Valley

As the Minister is so full of praise for our trade links with Brazil, will he tell that country's president that this country does not condone the rape of the rainforests or the killing of street children? Will he point out that trade links will be severely affected if the President and the Brazilian Government do not take steps to solve those two problems?

Photo of David Davis David Davis Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

We do not support trade sanctions and boycotts, but we have been in regular contact with the Brazilian Government for some time and I have raised the matter of street children. We have supported international action on that front, especially with the United Nations. Similarly, we share the concern about mahogany exploitation, which should not be at the expense of indigenous peoples. Those points have been made to the Brazilian Government more than once already.