In June, U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg traveled to Brazil to promote economic ties between the two countries. In an email interview, Marieke Riethof, a lecturer in Latin American politics at the University of Liverpool, discussed U.K.-Brazil relations.
WPR: What is the current state of U.K.-Brazil political and economic relations?
Marieke Riethof: Although the U.K. is a relatively small trading partner for Brazil, bilateral trade and investment between the two countries have increased over the past 10 years. During the first half of 2011, total trade between the U.K. and Brazil increased by 8 percent compared to the same period in 2010. Total bilateral trade in 2009 represented $8.4 billion. Brazil currently maintains a trade surplus with the U.K., with raw materials and semi-manufactured goods dominating its exports. During his visit to Brazil last month, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg expressed the U.K. government's aim to double annual British exports to Brazil and to promote British commercial activity in Brazil. The potential for Brazilian investment in the U.K., academic research collaboration and cooperation in the area of oil and gas exploration are also significant in this respect. Political relations between both countries are cordial and cooperative: The British government supports Brazil's bid for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, while also supporting Brazil's poverty alleviation and aid programs in Africa, as well as its peacekeeping operations.