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US Emphasizes Joint Security Concerns as It Deepens Ties With Brazil

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Warming relations between the United States and Brazil received a boost this week with an update to an existing U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listens to Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo speaking during a press conference at the Boa Vista Air Base in Roraima, Brazil, Sept. 18, 2020.Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed another mutual benefit from the relationship when he addressed a virtual forum organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, opened by Bolsonaro.“To the extent we can find ways that we can increase the trade between our two countries, we can … decrease each of our two nations’ dependence for critical items” coming from China, Huawei headquarters building is pictured in Reading, Britain, July 14, 2020.Bolsonaro is recently reported to favor keeping Huawei out of his country’s telecom infrastructure, but China’s official media has reported that Brazil’s vice president welcomes Huawei’s participation in the country’s 5G network.The question of 5G “is a sensitive matter, which will be decided at the appropriate level in Brazil in a transparent and open way,” Forster told VOA.Who’s to build Brazil’s 5G network is “up for public auction,” he said, with some standards to be announced later this year and the auction to take place in 2021.Forster said his government will be “looking at the different aspects of the equation; there’s the economic aspect of it, the financial aspect of it, there’s also security aspect of it, there’s data privacy involved, legal security involved; no final decision has been made.”In the Chamber of Commerce forum, Pompeo said Brazil can serve as a potential “anchor” as the U.S. builds closer ties with “all of our friends in the Western Hemisphere and in South America.”David R. Shedd, a former acting director of U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency and a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation, agreed, saying the signing of the trade protocol and other measures hold the potential for an “exciting new period” in U.S. relations with Brazil and its neighbors.With a U.S. presidential election less than two weeks away, however, Shedd told VOA that Brazil and the whole Latin American region have adopted a “wait and see” approach on certain key issues.While acknowledging he doesn’t know how Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden might handle relations with Brazil, he said it is clear that a Democratic administration would pay much more attention to the environment.Peter Hakim, president emeritus and senior fellow at the Inter-America Dialogue, believes that if elected, Biden “will almost surely emphasize environmental concerns and worker’s rights issues, which will not find much resonance in Brazil.” 

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