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October 22, 2014
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Rousseff defends industry policy among critics

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff speaks during the ceremony of the Sanction Law establishing the Regulatory Framework of Civil Society Organizations at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia yesterday.

Three main presidential candidates tow same line, promise tax reform overhaul

BRASILIA — The Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who hopes to be re-elected for a second term in October’s elections, has defended her government’s industrial policy in front of the sector’s business leaders, while at the same event opposition candidate Aécio Neves Brazil’s criticized “ideological alignment” with neighbouring countries.

Rousseff, of the Workers Party (PT) and Neves, of the Party of Brazilian Social Democracy (PSDB), as well as the presidential candidate for the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) Eduardo Campos, participated in a meeting on Wednesday evening organized by the National Confederation of Industry (CNI) to listen to the sector’s proposals and outline their policies should they be elected on October 5.

In recent months, the CNI has warned of deterioration in the economy and reduced its growth forecast for 2014 to one percent. It also predicted a contraction of 0.5 percent for the sector this year.

In response, Rousseff stressed that the performance of the Brazilian economy contradicts the general pessimism and attributed current economic problems to the international crisis, but claimed that this has had a minimal impact on Brazil.

Despite the low growth rates in recent years — 2.7 percent in 2011, one percent in 2012 and 2.3 percent last year — Rousseff said that the economy has not stopped expanding while her government has managed to get the unemployment rate “very low” at around five percent.

Rousseff emphasized Brazil’s accumulated reserves and said the government has stimulated industrial activity through a series of state loans.

She also blamed the “wave of pessimism” on “campaigns” being waged against her government without identifying who was behind them, and asked industrial leaders to not take any notice, claiming the country is heading into a “new period” of “productive competitiveness.”

In response to the industrial sector’s demands for tax reform, Rousseff said that this would be “a priority” in an eventual second term, but admitted that it must pass through Congress first.

In turn Neves said that “Brazil needs to be more integrated in the world market” as the Mercosur bloc the country integrates with Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela is showing “clear signs of stagnation.”

“We are suffering from these ideological ties while the world is moving forward,” said Neves.

Although he believes Brazil should not break away from Mercosur, the country “needs freedom to establish its own trade agreements.”

Neves also supported the CNI’s demands for tax reform, saying that he would send a bill to Congress in his first week of government if he were to be elected president.

So far, polls show Rousseff remains favourite, saying she would win with 40 percent of the vote against 22 percent for Neves and 10 percent for the Socialist candidate Campos.

Like her rivals, Rousseff stressed the importance of building bilateral relations with the US and Europe, but also emphasized the importance of the Brazil’s relationship with Latin American countries and emerging countries “without prejudice.”

Organized crime

The PT in Sao Pablo decided yesterday to expel representative Luis Moura following his alleged ties to organized crime.

According to the president of the PT in Sao Paulo Emidio de Souza “Moura’s behaviour has been very damaging for the party” and there’s no need to wait for suspicions to be confirmed about his links with the largest organized crime group in the country, the First Command of the Capital (PCC) to expel him.

Moura is being investigated on suspicion of money laundering along with members the PCC, using bus companies and cooperatives located in Sao Paulo.

Allegations arose following a police investigation that found that in March Moura had participated in a meeting with members of the criminal group which operates from the prisons of San Pablo.

Moura was elected representative for the PT in the last elections in 2010 with 104,705 votes and is running for reelection in the upcoming October elections. His expulsion was approved unanimously by the 16 members of the PT Executive in San Pablo, who considered that Moura did not offer satisfactory explanations to the allegations.

Herald with Télam

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