Reason with him
22nd Sep, 2009 (Adapted)
Question (Q) 1: Margolis: When you took office, Brazil was regarded
as an underachiever, and the last among the BRIC nations. Now Brazil is
considered a star among emerging countries. What's happened?
Lula: No one respects anyone who doesn't respect themselves. And
Brazil always behaved like a second-class country. We always told
ourselves we were the country of the future. But we never transformed
these qualities into anything concrete. In a globalized world you cannot
sit still. You have to hit the road and sell your country. So we
decided to make strengthening Mercosul (the South American trading bloc)
a priority, and deepened our relations with Latin America in general.
We prioritized trade with Africa and went into the Middle East
aggressively. Our trade balance today is diversified. This helped us
cushion the blow of the economic crisis.
Q2: Margolis: Has Brazil´s success in navigating the economic crisis changed investors' views?
Lula: There was no miracle. We had a strong domestic market. We
had consumers who wanted to buy cars. We reduced part of the sales tax
and asked the companies to offer consumers credit on affordable items.
It's the same case with refrigerators, stoves, washing machines, and
with computers and the housing construction.
Q3: Margolis: What are the lessons for other countries?
Lula: The great lesson is that the state has an important role to
play, and has great responsibility. We don't want the state to manage
business. But it can be an inducer of growth and can work in harmony
with society.Brazil's president refers to the country's diversified trade balance as having
a) contributed to worsen the global economic crisis.
b) resulted from trade with one sole strategic partner.
c) been prevented by internal regulations.
d) been considered as an unattainable goal.
e) minimized the adverse effects of the world crisis.