US 'keen for free trade agreement with Brazil'

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A new free trade agreement could arise between the US and Brazil.

US president Donald Trump has said he is keen to pursue a free trade agreement with Brazil in a bid to reduce trade barriers and lower tariffs on imports.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, he said he is looking to negotiate a friendlier relationship with Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro that could benefit both of the two biggest economies in the Americas.

"We're going to work on a free trade agreement with Brazil. Brazil is a big trading partner. They charge us a lot of tariffs, but other than that we love the relationship," Mr Trump told the gathered press.

Brazil's deputy economy minister for foreign trade Marcos Troyjo told Reuters he also has "ambitious" goals to increase trade between the two nations, but pointed out that any talks on tariffs would need to include its trading partners in the customs union Mercosur.

In the meantime, the US has officially designated Brazil a 'major non-NATO ally', which puts it in the same category as Japan, South Korea and Australia.

This means it has preferential access to American weapons and military training in the same way that NATO allies would.

However, despite Mr Trump's current interest in better relations with Brazil, he has not always been so benevolent towards the South American nation.

Last year, he threatened steel and aluminium tariffs on it and other nations as part of the America First agenda, before relenting and granting Brazil a permanent extension.

Brazil has also been campaigning to have a 2017 ban of fresh Brazilian beef imports lifted that has been having a detrimental impact on its farmers.

Nevertheless, the US and Brazil exchanged $100 billion (€89.3 billion) in goods and services last year, according to the Office of the US Trade Representative.

Brazil was the US's ninth-largest goods export market, with top export categories being mineral fuels, aircraft, machinery and plastics.