( dpa )- US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is to visit Brazil and Chile from March 13 to 15 to discuss cooperation on biofuels and free trade, officials said Thursday.
In Brazil, Rice is to meet with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and the foreign minister, and visit Salvador da Bahia, the first colonial capital of Brazil and a picturesque World Heritage site, State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said.
Brazil and the US produce most of the world's ethanol, from sugarcane and corn. US President George Bush and Lula signed an ethanol cooperation agreement for marketing and development during Bush's last visit to Brazil.
Brazil is also a key figure in world trade and climate change issues, leading, along with China and India, the block of developing countries who often oppose suggestions from the industrialized world.
In Chile, Rice is to meet with President Michelle Bachelet, to discuss strengthening the "extensive trade and economic relations we have with that country."