Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, May 2012
Brazil’s economic and political transformation and consequent impact on the western hemisphere and the world offer many valuable opportunities for Canada to strengthen its relations with this increasingly influential country, reinforce their mutual equality and understanding, and ultimately benefit the people and prosperity of both countries. In order to maximise these opportunities and realise their full benefit and potential now and in the future, Canada’s engagement with Brazil needs to intensify and, most importantly, needs to be strategic.
Accordingly, the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade concludes from its study of the implications of Brazil’s transformation for Canadian policy and interests that the Government of Canada undertake strategic partnerships that match priorities and expertise in key sectors with the most promise: education, science and technology, infrastructure, investment and trade, and regional and global affairs. Moreover, these strategic partnerships and the Canada-Brazil relationship in general would benefit from an update of Canada’s visa regime regarding Brazil and an improved understanding of Brazil’s commercial climate.
The Committee was motivated to undertake its study of Brazil as a natural extension of its earlier study of the rise of Russia, India and China. That Brazil counts itself among the BRIC group of states is without question given that, due to a combination of sheer size of territory and population, rapid economic growth and growing middle class, these four countries have emerged as dominant powers in the world economy and key drivers of global trade and investment. The BRIC countries comprise more than 40% of the global population and cover over a quarter of the world’s land area.1 Their global share of gross domestic product (GDP) has grown from 11% in 1990 to approximately 25% today.2 By 2020, it is expected that the four economies will be responsible for almost 50% of the increase in global GDP.3 The size of the middle class of the four countries is expected to more than double that of the G-7 by 2020.4