World events should not distract the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) from its efforts to promote a stronger bilateral relationship between the UK and Brazil says the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee in a report published today.
The rise of Brazil as a world power represents an opportunity for the UK, not a threat and the FCO is correct to identify Brazil's potential to be a "good news story" for the UK. Brazil is a democratic, well-governed, responsible state, with much to contribute to the international community.
The UK has taken the correct preliminary steps to strengthen the bilateral relationship. The UK's support for permanent Brazilian membership of the UN Security Council, as part of a wider UN reform is to be particularly welcomed. Brazil as a developing, democratic country can play a vital role in representing the "global South". The Government must maintain its efforts in this area.
UK national interests
As Brazil increasingly accepts the global leadership role that its growing economy will bring, it will play a key role in the promotion of UK national interests such as energy security, the trade in narcotics and the maintenance of the environment, while the commercial opportunity that Brazil represents is a vital plank of the Government’s ambition to increase trade overseas.
The turning away of a Royal Navy vessel is a serious matter. The committee regrets that Brazil felt the need to refuse docking permission to HMS Clyde in January this year, and further regrets a general hardening of Brazil's position towards the Falklands. The committee is pressing for answers from the FCO as to how this situation was allowed to develop.
Comments from Chair
Committee Chair Richard Ottaway MP said:
"The Government has taken the right steps to promote a stronger relationship between the UK and Brazil. This must represent the beginning of a long-term effort to strengthen the UK's relationship with a country that will be key to the UK's national interests in the coming years.
In a wide range of areas, from tackling climate change to increasing UK exports, the UK stands to benefit from the development of a stronger, more confident Brazil. If Brazil continues on its current path, its rise should be welcomed.
I urge the FCO to continue their efforts, despite the distraction of the 'Arab Spring' on the department's work, and build on the progress made so far. I look forward to monitoring this progress and the continued strengthening of the bilateral relationship throughout this Parliament."