On April 28, the Global Economy and Development Program hosted a conference to explore four of Brazil’s key economic-policy challenges: (1) promoting leading positions in agricultural and energy markets, (2) designing a trade policy that promotes innovation and is an engine for employment, (3), moving Brazil closer to an equitable opportunity society, and (4) incubating and supporting vibrant multinational enterprises.
Brazil’s economic future is again attracting avid interest from investors, scholars and policymakers. The country’s size, impressive resources, sophisticated corporations, and solid macroeconomic management have generated expectations that Brazil will become one of the world’s economic superpowers alongside China and India in the coming decades. Yet, whether this comes to pass will depend in large measure on how Brazil integrates with the broader global economy and how it manages the domestic challenges that will accompany greater economic integration.
Historically, Brazilian policymakers have been skeptical of the benefits of economic openness and deep integration, and they remain conflicted about the role Brazil’s traditionally interventionist state should play in the economy. If Brazil is to become an economic superpower, Brazil’s leadership will have to make important choices about whether and how to integrate into world markets and about what role Brazil should play in the global economy. To build political support for such policies, they will also have to ensure that the benefits of growth are broadly shared at home and to deal effectively with the social costs of globalization.
Whatever the role Brazil chooses to play in the global economy will matter for the United States and other countries in the region. Yet, the factors will determine these choices are inadequately understood in the United States. This conference aims at promoting a better understanding in the United States of Brazil’s economic future and to foster collaboration among Brazilian, U.S., and European academics and practitioners.
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