Aloysio Nunes Ferreira*
After a six-year hiatus in high-level reciprocal visits, I'm pleased to arrive in Jordan with the aspiration to open a new phase in our bilateral relations.
Politically, our relations have always been excellent. Despite our geographical distance, Brazil and Jordan share common positions in multilateral fora, as well as in the most important global issues. It is time to strengthen our relationship in other areas, such as economic and technical cooperation fields.
Brazil considers Jordan a beacon of stability and moderation in a region surrounded by conflicts. This is an important role that we also try to play in our own region.
We follow attentively Jordanian positions regarding important issues in the Middle East, particularly the Palestinian plight for an independent state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Moreover, we admire His Majesty King Abdullah’s leadership in the global fight against terror and extremism.
We also acknowledge and praise the Jordanian government and people for its generousity in historically hosting such a large number of refugees, being Palestinians, Iraqis, Syrians and from many other nationalities. Brazil is aware that no country is immune to the consequences associated with large movements of refugees, and believes that only a coordinated response can ameliorate the suffering. Rather than closing borders, as some governments have done, the international community must work together to address the issue of global displacement. In this context, let me stress the importance of the visit to Brasilia, on February 19 and 20, of the High Commissioner of the United Nations for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, when we reiterated our common goal of assisting refugees to the best of our capacities.
This represents another similarity that brings our countries close together. Brazil is open to immigrants and hosts nowadays more than 12 million Arab descendants. Our current president, Michel Temer, is from Lebanese descent. The Arab influence in the formation of our national character is significant in all realms of society, in areas such as the arts, the architecture and the cuisine.
Today, I will sign with Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi a bilateral Agreement on Technical Cooperation, an important tool to create new possibilities of cooperation, for instance, in the fields of agriculture and industrial development. Besides, we are negotiating a new model of investment protection agreement, which is highly important to foster our bilateral economic relations and could entice Brazilian investors to use Jordan as a hub to access the regional market.
Trade between our countries has been reasonable, but still below its full potential. In the last decade, the bilateral trade flow was around $230 million per year, with a huge surplus on the Brazilian side. However, since 2013, Jordanian exports to Brazil have increased consistently, but still below $10 million per year.
Our relations are also being strengthened on the fields of defence, security and intelligence, particularly after the visit of the Brazilian minister of defence to Jordan in December 2017.
Next year, we will celebrate 70 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations, a very important landmark in our relationship. I hope my visit will contribute to promote and strengthen the solid and excellent ties between our countries.
*The writer is the Brazilian minister of foreign affairs. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times