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2003 G8 Pre-Summit Conference: Governing Globalization: G8, Public and Corporate Governance  *

Featured Content: June 02, 2003

Press Conference with Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil

Monday, 2 June, 2003, 11am
G8 Evian Summit, Publier Media Centre

Non-official notes by Céline Füri, Philippine de t'Serclaes and Christophe Gravend, Gabrielle Bardall, G8 Research Group

This meeting marks a historic moment where, for the first time, such a large number of developing countries have been invited to participate in the meeting of the G8. Initiated by the industrialized countries, this indicates an irrevocable turning point in the relations between the developing and rich countries. Not only is it an occasion to share our problems, but also to underline the fact that it is no longer possible to promote global growth without including the developing world. Furthermore, the rich countries have realized that they need to encourage development in order to extend the market for their products.

It is also important to encourage action between the developing states: the least developed countries (LDCs) should meet parallel to the meetings of the G8 of their own initiative. "The LDCs don't need to wait for an invitation from the G8 to get together." The developing countries must take control of their development and propose independent solutions. Likewise, the question of tariff barriers is crucial. An expansion of inter-LDC trade would facilitate negotiations on the elimination of these barriers. Thus, it is necessary to expand Brazil's contacts in the developing world in order to reinforce its economy.

The bottom line is: Brazil must make up for lost time. It is time for this country to take its place on the international stage.

Press questions and responses:

  • Not long ago, you yourself were behind the protesters barricades. Do you have a message to send to the protesters today?

Its true that that period is not too distant … Social movements are very important, since they maintain a daily pressure that is necessary for governments. My trip to the International Labour Organization in Geneva tomorrow is evidence of my concern for maintaining active social debates. Today I understand the need to win elections and work to transform our dreams into reality. And the protesters? They are right to claim their right to freedom of expression and should continue to do so. Change always comes from society. These movements brought here today, to the other side of the fence.

  • How did your bilateral meeting go?

These meeting have the advantage of allowing us to draw attention to important issues - notably, in the present case, on Brazil's initiative to construct a global Hunger Fund. It's a slow process and I didn't not expect them to immediately accept all our proposals, however I feel that the G8 countries are favorable to consolidating a new paradigm for commercial relations. We need markets just as they do, so its in our mutual interest to open these discussions. I believe it is essential to work on a better distribution of wealth.

  • Is Brazil determined to seek a better representation in future G8 meetings, considering that Brazil's economy would justify its place as the 9th member of a G9?

It is true that this summit marks a point of no return. President Bush cannot refuse to invite the developing countries present here today [under the auspices of the "Enlarged Dialogue"]. We all came away from the meeting with the sentiment that an important change had taken place. We [the LDCs] need to encourage deeper co-operation between ourselves, outside the forum of the G8, and not simply wait until we are invited. There should be no more closed, elitist clubs, we all have something to contribute. I do not ask for Brazil to take part in a G9, I think there should be much larger particiaption - why not a G17, G30?

  • How did your meeting with President Putin go? How are relations between Brazil and Russia?

I was very impressed by Putin. Two countries such as ours cannot "think small". We certainly have an important future for further commercial relations, as our countries have complementary markets of comparable size. Again, Brazil will not wait to be invited. We will take advantage of opening to other important economies, like China and Africa.

  • Did you obtain any concrete commitments for the reduction of agricultural subsidies?

The conditions are favourable for reducing protectionism in the field of agricultural trade. We must continue to put pressure on the rich countries. However, we will not be dependent. We will increase our trade with them and elsewhere, and soon they will want to reduce their barriers for their own benefit.

  • In concrete terms, why have we not succeeding in resolving the problem of hunger?

The commitments taken at Rome were meant to be fulfilled by 2015, today we are already talking about pushing it back to 2050…

It is crucial that all programs that fight hunger must generate employment, and not simply distribute food. Civil society's participation in this is essential.

  • Should Brazil seek a permanent seat in the UN Security Council?

There is no doubt that Brazil deserves a permanent seat in the Security Council. In fact, the Security Council's voting procedures should be thoroughly reviewed also, the UN needs to be democratized. Africa also merits a seat or two. We're working on it.