Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday endorsed President Donald Trump for reelection, telling reporters after the signing of a U.S.-Brazil investment agreement that he hopes to attend Trump’s second inauguration, according to local reports.
“I most certainly hope that, God willing, I will attend the inauguration of the president, who will soon be reelected in the United States,” Bolsonaro said, according to a staff translation of his statement from Portuguese, as cited by Diario de Pernambuco, a Brazilian news outlet.
Bolsonaro added that he “doesn’t need to hide” his support for Trump, which he said came “from the heart.”
The Brazilian president has often lauded Trump, calling him a political role model and drawing parallels between their conservative agendas. In July, Bolsonaro similarly said he hoped Trump wins his bid for reelection.
His remarks came after the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) President Kimberly Reed and Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs at an event in Brasilia, the capital. Under the deal, the sides agreed to explore ways to use up to $1 billion in EXIM financing in areas like telecommunications, energy, infrastructure, and manufacturing, the U.S. Embassy in Brazil said in a statement.
The event was attended by national security adviser Robert O’Brien, who was cited by Politico as saying, “I don’t think we’ve ever had a better relationship with Brazil than we have today.”
Tuesday’s memorandum of understanding follows a new mini trade deal between the two countries announced Monday. Called the U.S.-Brazil Protocol on Trade Rules and Transparency, it seeks to reduce border bureaucracy, facilitate trade, and enhance anti-corruption measures.
“This protocol is an important step in creating a solid base for open trade between the U.S. and Brazil,” said U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Todd Chapman in a statement. “As the two largest economies in the Western Hemisphere, we are creating an environment for our businesses to thrive and recover from the negative impacts of the pandemic that has hit our countries,” he added.
On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that as the United States and Brazil reinforce their business partnership, they need to reduce their dependence on imports from China for their own security.
At a virtual summit on increased U.S.-Brazil cooperation aimed at post-pandemic recovery, Pompeo underscored the importance of expanding bilateral economic ties, given what he called “enormous risk” stemming from China’s significant participation in their economies.
“To the extent we can find ways that we can increase the trade between our two countries, we can … decrease each of our two nations’ dependence for critical items” coming from China, he said.
“Each of our two peoples will be more secure, and each of our two nations will be far more prosperous, whether that’s two or five or 10 years from now,” he added.
The U.S. government stepped up an offensive on Tuesday to keep China’s Huawei Technologies out of Brazil’s 5G market, with Washington offering to finance purchases by Brazilian telecom companies of equipment from its competitors.
In Washington, top U.S. officials urged Brazil to carefully monitor Chinese investments in Brazil and moves by Beijing to expand its influence in Latin America’s largest economy through sale of 5G technology by Huawei.
“We have encouraged Brazil … to try to work together to make sure that we watch China carefully with respect to all manner of technology and telephoning and 5G,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told the event.
“We have taken actions here in the States; we continue to move, and it is my great hope that Brazil will move with us,” he added. “We hope that Brazil will also keep a careful, critical eye on Chinese investment.”
Washington believes Huawei would hand over data to the Chinese government for spying, a claim Huawei denies.
The Trump administration is working to boost ties with Brazil and provide a counterweight to China.
U.S. goods and services trade with Brazil totaled an estimated $105.1 billion in 2019.
Reuters contributed to this report.