Brazil, Russia aim to double bilateral trade

Brasilia, Jul 14 (EFE).- Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and her Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, confirmed here Monday their goal of doubling bilateral trade to $10 billion a year.

Rousseff received Putin in Brasilia the day after both attended in Rio de Janeiro the final of the World Cup, which in 2018 will be organized by Russia.

The meeting was previous to the 6th Summit of the BRICS group of emerging or newly industrialized countries, of which Russia and Brazil are members together with India, China and South Africa, and which will be held on Tuesday in the northeastern city of Fortaleza.

Last year the value of Brazil-Russia trade was $5.56 billion, 2.2 percent less than in 2012, but according to both Rousseff and Putin, the goal of doubling that figure could be reached in the medium term.

Toward that end, Brazil and Russia signed Monday an accord by which they plan to boost trade through the promotion of mutual investments.

"Brazil offers innumerable opportunities in infrastructure and energy," Rousseff said at a joint press conference with her guest.

Brazil's doors "are open" to Russian companies interested in investing in the areas of oil, ports, railroads and more, she said.

Putin suggested exploring the possibility of a cooperation agreement between the Union of South American Nations and the Eurasian Economic Union, made up of his country, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Also signed at the meeting were another seven accords in the areas of defense, education, energy cooperation, gas, healthcare, science and technology.

The two leaders likewise agreed to continue negotiating Brazil's possible purchase of $1 billion in Russian anti-aircraft defense systems.

Rousseff assessed the alternatives to be offered by the development bank that will be founded by the BRICS group during its imminent summit.

"At this point in time and in such a complex world, we see Russia geopolitically integrated in the global South, in a South that asserts its own identity," Rousseff said.