Brazil's president seeks to boost economic ties with Czech Republic
Brazil's President Inacio Lula da Silva said in Prague Saturday he wanted to boost economic ties with the Czech Republic during the first official visit of a Brazilian head of state to the central European country. ( dpa )
"I had an opportunity to show President Klaus the vast opportunities in economic cooperation that are opening before our countries," he told reporters after meeting his Czech counterpart Vaclav Klaus.
As part of the visit, Czech and Brazilian foreign ministers signed a revamped framework agreement on economic and industrial cooperation "to pave way" for investors.
Brazil is the largest Czech trade partner in Latin America, the Czech presidential office said. Trade between Brazil and the Czech Republic totalled 335 million dollars last year, including 214 million dollars worth of imports by Brazil.
Brazilian officials said earlier that Lula was on a swing through Europe to convince leaders that bio-fuels are a cleaner alternative that causes less harm to the environment. Brazil is a leading ethanol producer.
In the Netherlands on Thursday, Lula said that bio-fuel production was not the cause of rapidly climbing food prices worldwide, a position disputed earlier by the Czech president.
Klaus is a global warming sceptic, who objects to taking measures to curb global warming.
In the Prague briefing, the leaders refrained from speaking about energy issues, including bio-fuels, and allowed no time for questions on the topic.
Lula, said he hoped that the Czechs would qualify for the football World Cup finals to be hosted by Brazil in 2014. "It would be great if we played in the final. And it would be even better if Brazil wins and the Czech Republics is second," he said.