Dear Minister Braga Netto, Minister Araújo, Ambassadors, Colleagues,
It is my pleasure to welcome you to this meeting of the Members of the Council, Minister Braga Netto and Minister Araújo. Under your leadership, the Casa Civil and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been the pillars of our co-operation.
Minister Braga Netto, since you took office as the Minister leading the all-important Casa Civil earlier this year, you have shown to be a true friend of the OECD. Your guidance of the Conselho Brasil-OCDE, the body that co-ordinates Brazil’s ministries with the OECD, testifies to the strategic importance you place on our partnership.
Minister Araújo, you have been a friend and a long-time champion of the OECD, including as Co-Chair of the OECD LAC Regional Programme. Now, leading Brazil’s foreign policy, you have elevated our co-operation to become a top priority in the Government of President Bolsonaro and we are very honoured by that.
Ministers, you have worked tirelessly across different policy areas to ensure that Brazil moves closer to OECD standards. The new joint OECD-Brazil project to align Brazil’s policies to the OECD Environmental Acquis is an important example, reflecting the efforts that the Brazilian government is ready to make. You also helped launch the OECD Going Digital and the Telecommunication and Broadcasting Reviews of Brazil, a crucial sector too for inclusion and sustainability.
At our recent Ministerial Council Meeting, you highlighted that Brazil’s accession to the OECD will not only “contribute to align the country with best practices concerning socio-economic and environmental policies”, but that “it will also enhance the OECD’s reach and impact at a critical juncture for the world economy”. I would certainly agree with that view.
The OECD and Brazil are bound by a solid and longstanding co-operation that dates back to 1994, when Brazil joined the OECD Development Centre.
Brazil is the most engaged of all five OECD Key Partner countries and has fulfilled the requirements of “the Framework for the Consideration of Prospective Members” adopted by the Council in 2017. It also participates in 39 OECD bodies, and has adhered to 93 OECD legal instruments – that’s over one-third of all OECD Acquis.
Brazil has made impressive progress on sensitive issues like Transfer Pricing, thanks to a four-year joint project with Receita Federal, supported by the UK. Its process of adherence to the Codes of Liberalisation is also well advanced.
As we harness our individual and collective forces to tackle the unprecedented health, economic and social challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, this partnership is today more important than ever.
The crisis has hit Brazil hard. The government has responded swiftly with comprehensive measures. These efforts have protected millions of vulnerable households, including those without formal employment and social protection, and SMEs.
Brazil’s economy is expected to see a smaller contraction in 2020 compared to our September projection of 6.5%, and much lower than the 9% contraction faced by the Latin American region as a whole.
Brazil, as other countries, must ensure that its recovery is inclusive, sustainable and green. The government must continue advancing its ambitious agenda, building on its success with the pension reform to improve overall fiscal sustainability and public spending efficiency. Brazil should also advance measures to raise productivity, promote competition, reduce regulatory burdens and tax complexity, and stimulate international trade.
Ministers, the COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated the importance of international co-operation. Together we are smarter, together we are stronger. Our future relies on our capacity to collaborate, communicate and learn from each other. The OECD stands ready to work hand-in-hand with our Brazilian friends to build back better. We thank you for your trust in the OECD and we trust that you will keep leading Brazil’s efforts to converge with international best practices.
Ministers, without further ado, the floor is yours.