Latin American exporting powerhouse Brazil, one of the highly-touted “BRIC” nations, has indicted they will not wait for the ink to dry on President Obama’s signature of the trillion dollar debt plan before they challenge the controversial “Buy American” provisions within the bill to the World Trade Organization.
Brazil may challenge the legality of a “Buy American” clause in the recently approved U.S. economic stimulus package at the World Trade Organization, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said on Monday.
“It’s a complex legal analysis, but we’re doing it,” Amorim said. “(Going to the WTO) is a real option,” he told the state television channel TV Brasil in a program to be aired later this week.
The U.S. Congress approved a $787 billion plan to jump-start the world’s biggest economy on Friday, stipulating that public works and building projects funded by the stimulus use only U.S.-made goods, including iron and steel.
Major commodities exporter Brazil has been a key player in the Doha round of global trade negotiations, and had hoped the G20 group of leading economies would honor a November pledge in Washington to avoid protectionism.
Amorim said the U.S. move was counterproductive, likening it to a pain-killer that heals the symptoms of disease but not its cause. He said the Doha round was not dead but would be hard to revive.
“It’s a bad sign. … It’s not positive at a moment when the world economy is trying to revive,” Amorim said.
Brazil is a member nation of the WTO. However, is not a signatory to the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreements. This agreement is one of many the Senate’s so-called “watered-down version” of the “Buy American” provision was supposed to avoid charges of protectionism.
This isn’t the beginning of a full-fledged trade war, but it is one of many signs which could lead to one.