( dpa ) - Brazilian President Inacio Lula da Silva arrived Friday for his first visit to the Czech Republic, where energy and trade issues top the agenda.
Brazil is the largest Czech trade partner in Latin America, said Petr Fucik, spokesman for the Czech president's offices.
Lula is to begin his official visit on Saturday, when he will be received by his counterpart Vaclav Klaus.
Lula is on a swing through Europe to convince leaders that bio- fuels are a cleaner alternative that causes less harm to the environment, as Brazilian officials put it earlier this week.
Brazil is a global leader in ethanol and other biofuels.
Lula's visit aims to "make the most of the Czech market's potential and of that country's strategic position in Central Europe," Brazilian presidential spokesman Marcelo Baumbach said earlier this week.
Trade between Brazil and the Czech Republic totalled 335 million dollars last year, including 214 million dollars worth of imports by Brazil.
In the Netherlands on Thursday, Lula said climbing food prices are putting pressure on inflation, but denied that biofuel production was the cause.
"Ever since late last year, we have seen growth of inflation around the world," Lula said. "There is no relation with the production of biofuels."
The World Bank estimated this week that food prices have gone up 83 per cent in three years, and are not projected to fall significantly until 2015.
While in the Netherlands, Lula was to have deepened cooperation with the Netherlands on other issues including ports and maritime transport, education, culture and water.
According to the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, the Netherlands became one of the main foreign investors in recent years in Brazil. In 2007, the country topped the list with direct investment of 8.1 billion dollars, some 23.6 per cent of the total received by Brazil.