SAO PAULO — Visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron, in an interview published Thursday, warned emerging power Brazil against protectionism and called for expanded bilateral trade, notably in the energy and bioscience sectors.
"To try to isolate and protect industry from competition can benefit the domestic industry, but this carries long-term costs and prevents the development of a truly competitive and innovative industrial base," according to excerpts in Portuguese of the interview with the daily Folha de Sao Paulo.
Cameron, who arrived here Thursday after attending the UN General Assembly in New York, said he would deliver his anti-protectionism message when he meets with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia Friday.
Brazil has adopted stimulus measures to prop up its struggling domestic industry which has been reeling from declining competitiveness in the face of surging imports, notably from Asia, and the appreciating national currency.
Cameron opened his visit in Sao Paulo, Brazil's economic capital, where he will hold talks aimed at convincing corporate leaders that Britain is "a country worth doing business with."
Accompanied by a large business delegation including British Trade Minister Stephen Green and Minister of State for the Foreign Office Hugo Swire, he huddled with Paulo Skaf, president of the powerful Federation of Industries of the State of Sao Paulo.
In his interview, Cameron said one of his government's top priorities was to establish links with the world's fastest growing economies to spur prosperity at home.
"Brazil is a country where Britain has not taken advantage of opportunities in the past," Cameron noted, pointing out that Britain supplies only 1.5 percent of Brazilian imports compared with 6.4 percent by Germany.
British exports to Brazil were up 15 percent year-on-year in the first six months of 2011 and 10 percent in the second half of the year, according to the Foreign Office.
And Britain plans to boost its exports to Brazil to £4 billion (five billion euros, 6.5 billion dollars) by 2015, it added.
"I want to show what Britain has to offer: expertise in some of the import sectors most important in Brazil such as energy and biological sciences, services we can offer in education, sciences, innovation," Cameron told Folha de Sao Paulo.
But he stressed the need for "a stable, consistent and transparent business environment."
"Companies need clarity, trust and the certainty that their investment decisions have a solid basis," he added.
Brazil's state-owned energy giant Petrobras needs foreign investment and technology to meet the country's goal of doubling its oil production from around two million barrels a day currently to nearly five million by 2020, largely thanks to the pre-salt reserves.
The National Petroleum Agency estimates that the huge pre-salt reserves, discovered in 2007 off the southeast coast, could hold more than 100 billion barrels of high-quality recoverable crude and could turn Brazil into one of the world's top exporters.
With the pre-salt, Brazil's crude reserves would jump from the current 13.9 billion barrels to 55 billion barrels, according to the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ).
British Foreign Secretary William Hague in January paid his first official visit to Brazil, Latin America's powerhouse which in December displaced Britain as the world's sixth largest economy,
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