Economy, Foreign Trade
Inter-American Development Bank, Latin American nations, mineral products, customs union, international body
Before 1980 there were persistent deficits in Brazilís balance of trade, with imports costing more than exports. In the 1980s this moved into a surplus as a result of a policy of export promotion, increased self-sufficiency in manufactured goods, and a reduced need for petroleum imports. Recent deficits partly reflect the global economic stagnation of the early 1990s. Current government policies seek to reestablish a surplus. Although Brazil traditionally has been an exporter of primary agricultural and mineral products, these now make up only 40 percent of overseas trade, with manufactured goods providing the balance.
Brazil is a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an international body that seeks to coordinate monetary funds in order to expand trade, and the Inter-American Development Bank, an organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., that promotes economic development in Latin American nations. It was a pioneer in the International Coffee Agreement of 1957, seeking to protect its interests in one of its major export crops. By establishing export quotas, the agreement between coffee-producing and coffee-consuming countries tried to stabilize prices and overcome the problems caused by fluctuations in supply and demand. In 1960 Brazil joined the Latin American Free Trade Area (which became the Latin American Integration Association in 1980), to foster trade within the continent, and since 1995 has been a member of Mercosur, a customs union with Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
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