The White House
Office of the Vice President
Remarks to the Press by Vice President Biden and Brazilian Vice President Temer
1:08 P.M. (Local)
VICE PRESIDENT TEMER: (As interpreted) It’s my pleasure to welcome Vice President Joe Biden.
And on a more personal note, I’d like to say that some time ago as a representative of Brazil at taking office of the President of Mexico, I was happy to sit next to Vice President Biden. And there we had the opportunity to have a long conversation at the time, at a Latin America dinner there, for a very long dinner. So we had the opportunity to talk about many issues that are of interest to Brazil and the U.S.
And particularly at the personal level, both of us were from the legal field, and we had the opportunity to exchange a lot of ideas on that occasion. And I think that has strengthened our ties of friendship I believe between myself and Vice President Biden.
And it is precisely within the context of growing and closer ties between Brazil and the U.S., and that's the setting for the visit of Vice President Biden, following the visit paid by President Obama, and followed by a trip of President Dilma to the United States. And now in July, President Dilma will pay a state visit.
And as you may know, a state visit is a very special visit to the United States. And that is done only once a year. That's the information I have received. And that reveals -- that shows the importance of the relationship between Brazil and the U.S. and also the closer relationship between the U.S. and Brazil.
And I say so to you, the members of the press, that it’s very often said that we in Brazil have had -- have kept a very close relationship with African and South American and the Arabian countries. And that is true because we did build those closer ties. But we have not withdrawn from a very close relationship with the United States of America. We also -- because the bilateral trade between Brazil and the U.S. is a very close one after our -- second only to China -- and the relationship -- trade relationship between Brazil and the U.S. And so we are both sides very much interested in strengthening these ties, the commercial ties, which are being strengthened by these visits I have just mentioned.
And talking to Vice President Biden we have addressed topics that he had already addressed with President Wilma, especially in the field of energy, of technological innovation regarding a program we are very proud of here in Brazil, which is the Science Without Frontiers. And I have underscored to Vice President Biden that the U.S. is the country that is most sought after by those who receive the scholarships from the Science Without Borders program.
And as a sign of this we have over 5,000 students -- graduate and undergrad students -- who have gone to the U.S. so as to add to their own education the technological knowledge they receive in the U.S. and bring it to our country.
And I also comment on a statement he did in Rio de Janeiro saying that it is not -- democracy and social development are not incompatible. And as a rule I highlighted to Vice President Biden that in our country, we adopted in our country since in our institution we have been able to bring together the concepts of liberalism with those of the welfare state. And liberalism is perceived as the wider freedom, the freedom of expression, freedom of speech, and also -- and specifically the freedom of press -- with a high degree of preservation of individual rights.
And on the other hand, we have been able to adopt the rules of the welfare state as we ensure the right to housing, which have generated programs such as the family grant program, the housing program Minha Casa, Minha Vida, which has allowed millions of people to graduate from extreme poverty and move up to the middle classes in our country. And this has promoted an international insertion over our country and international scenario and -- within the international scene.
So we have -- as I said, we have addressed topics such as energy, technological innovation. We also have referred to several international issues, and I wish -- I’m very pleased to share some opinions with Vice President Biden regarding international conflicts -- as example, the issues in Syria and the Palestine-Israel conflict. And we have both highlighted that there is a strong coincidence in the stands taken by both governments of Brazil and the U.S.
And I have not left -- I did not forget to mention and I was well received by Vice President Biden, we have been reinforced of the interest of Brazil to have a seat at the U.N. Security Council as we have also received the support for application of Sao Paulo in Brazil for the 2020 Expo. So next week in Paris, there will be another event which will be defining the city to host the Expo 2020. And Brazil and Sao Paulo are applicants, and so we are advocating this possibility.
And as final remarks, I wish to highlight how honored we feel with your visit. And as you will see in the words to be followed by Vice President Biden, he is much more communicative than myself, and he will speak very properly about the reasons that have brought him to Brazil and the enthusiasm he takes home after his contact with Brazil.
And as you see, Vice President Biden, the press will pay keen attention to your words. Thank you.
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Thank you very much, Mr. Vice President. Let me begin by saying I don't want to go home. I wish we were able to stay and take advantage of the hospitality longer. My wife and my granddaughters are with me as well, and they are now looking at that beautiful lake and the gigantic swimming pool in the hotel we’re staying in. I think I’m going to have trouble getting them on the plane.
If you wonder about -- and I joked earlier in my visit in Rio de Janeiro where some Brazilians refer to Brazil as a developing country, you are no longer a developing -- you are a developed country. And if you need any evidence of that is the World Cup, Pope Francis coming here first, the Olympics. And now my friend is lobbying me on 2020. I tell you it’s amazing.
We have become friends. We got a chance to not only learn about each of our countries a little more when we were at the inauguration of the President of Mexico, but we learned we have some deep and common interest, particularly constitutional law which we both taught, as well as my passion and his for equality for women worldwide. And it’s been a common bond beyond what -- I guess you didn't like what I said, huh? You turned the lights out.
But let me say that earlier today I had a wide-ranging discussion with your President. She’s a leader who is literally laser focused on addressing the issues that matter most to the people of Brazil. And the good news is the issues that matter most to the people of Brazil are the issues that matter most to the people of the United States.
And I didn't have to spend long -- although we had a long conversation that went well beyond what either of us had anticipated -- I now understand why President Obama considers her such a good partner. And that's why we both -- the President and I -- are anxious, truly anxious for her to visit in October.
We occasionally have -- in the past have had more than one state visit in a year, but the President wanted to make a statement that the first state visit of this year is extended to your President as an evidence of our respect and our desire to further deepen the relationship.
And we’re extremely pleased that the President actually accepted the invitation. And this is the first state visit in the second term. And as I said a reflection -- a reflection of our great respect for your country.
As I said on Wednesday, I believe that 2013 can and should mark the beginning of a new era in U.S.-Brazil relations. But words will not get us there. We have a good deal of work that we have to get done between now and the end of the year to make that promise a reality. But we’re on our way.
Over the past four years, the President of the United States has been here. I have been here. Ten of our Cabinet members have been here. That has never happened before in the history of the relationship to the best of my knowledge between our country and yours. And it is a clear reflection of how important we believe this relationship to be.
We both acknowledge that there are gaps between what we have accomplished together and what we are capable of together. And I discussed with your President and Vice President the ambitious agenda that I think we should be focusing on to bridge that gap.
We spoke about how to deepen trade and investment in both our nations. Our annual trading relationship has now surpassed $100 billion a year, but there is literally no reason -- no reason why the world’s largest and seventh largest economies can’t increase that fivefold over time. That would generate so many jobs in both our countries and further tighten the relationships between our countries.
We spoke about how to remove barriers to trade and also how to achieve greater certainty for investors in both our countries. You have significantly increased direct foreign investment in the United States, and we welcome it, and we seek more.
On energy, we discussed how we can build a partnership that reflects the ambition of both our countries in this area. As some of you know, two days ago, I spent time at your state-owned and actually now private and state enterprise going through a deep briefing on the promise of pre-salt oil that is immense. The find is immense.
We also talked about how we could work together on areas that you have far surpassed us. You produce 50 percent of your energy with renewable energy. Our goal is to get to 20 percent by the middle of the next decade. We have a lot to learn from you -- a lot to learn from you.
We also think -- and it’s been discussed you may be able to learn something from us in being able to access shale gas. The access of shale gas in an environmentally sound way has radically altered America’s energy prospects -- radically altered those prospects.
Energy now, natural gas is less than $2 in the United States. It’s $17 or more in Europe and other places. It has great potential for your country, as well as for ours.
We discussed the growing place and presence on the world stage that Brazil has, and we made plans to do more to fight hunger in Haiti and promote development in Africa. And I want to applaud Brazil’s $900 million write-off of African debt. You are not only a serious player in the international community, you are an incredibly responsible player.
And as I said on Wednesday, and I said to you earlier, Brazil is no longer an emerging nation. Its actions like the one that I’ve just mentioned show -- show -- how Brazil has emerged. That doesn't mean there isn’t more work to do. Both Brazil and the United States have to keep working at the persistent challenges we face: delivering jobs to our constituencies, growth, tackling inequity, promoting opportunity and security for all.
But the world has much to learn from Brazil’s success. You’ve shown that nation’s need not choose between democracy and development, between market-based economies and smart social policy. I think that is -- I think you underestimate what a profound impact the last 15 years and the way you’ve arrived at your success has had on the rest of the world. There are scores of nations today, from the Arab Spring, across all continents trying to determine is it possible -- is it possible -- to have development and democracy. Brazil has demonstrated that it is possible. Not only possible, but it’s the best path to development.
We talked about the critical importance of tapping our people’s shared passion for innovation in education. My wife, who is with me today, is a full-time professor at a community college. She teaches a full load. She has an expression she’s used for the last 10 years: Any country that out-educates us will out-compete us. Any country that out-educates us will out-compete us.
You not only have great raw materials and great resources, you have human resources that are tremendous, and we are anxious to work with you. When President Obama announced his 100,000 Strong initiative, and your President announced your Science Without Borders -- I believe that's the name of -- Science Without Borders or Without Frontiers, we embraced it. And the fact of the matter is 5,000 Brazilian students seeking undergraduate and graduate degrees are in a total of 46 states within the United States of America attending what we respectfully would suggested are the finest research universities in the world.
It is good for us, and it is good for you. We always learn -- we learn from that. The reason we have been successful is because we’ve invited the world in, because we’ve expanded immigration, and we expand invitations to come and see us.
But there’s a secondary reason I might say, Mr. Vice President, we think this is so important. You and I were talking about this very briefly on the way down.
Ladies and gentlemen, those nations that are the closest, cooperate the most, and even when they have differences, negotiate those differences are those nations where each other’s nation understands, has a feeling for, has a taste for, has a sense of the people in the other nation. There’s only way to do that: Be there. Be there.
That's why through our ambassador, we have gone from 12 weeks I believe it is to two days or three days to get a visa. That's why we’re doubling the consulates we have here available. We want Brazilians coming to the United States -- not merely for commerce, but to see us, to begin to understand us with our faults and all -- our faults and our strengths -- because we’re convinced that if our people see firsthand what’s happening here in Brazil, meet firsthand your people and the same occurs, this relationship will become tighter and tighter.
Ladies and gentlemen, finally I want to raise an issue that the Vice President and I have pursued in our public life, the scourge of violence against women. Your administration, Mr. Vice President, your leadership has taken on domestic violence, and you’ve pulled it out of the shadows. I’m the author of the Violence Against Women Act in my country, the first fundamental change we’ve had in terms of how we legislatively view the role of the government in accommodating the end of domestic violence.
You’ve set up domestic violence hotlines that have significantly increased reporting of abuse and opened new shelters for victims, exactly what we did. There was a famous Justice of one -- of our Supreme Court. He said, the best disinfectant is sunlight. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. And shining a bright light on the abuse of women, shining a light on the abuse that takes place is the one certain way to end the abuse.
I leave Brazil full of optimism -- optimism -- about what we can accomplish together. This is a moment of -- for relationships to begin to take on a different texture, a greater depth.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are the first, you are the seventh largest economy in the world. We are both great democracies. We both are inclusive peoples. It is hard to imagine how this hemisphere can meet its potential without the relationship between the two largest nations in the hemisphere working together, and the international implications of that are profound.
So I look forward, as the President does, to your President’s visit. I look forward to coming back many times, and I look forward to the great good we can do for both our people by working together.
And, Mr. Vice President, thank you for your hospitality, and I want to thank the press for paying attention in my visit to what I’ve had to say. I appreciate it very much. (Applause.)
1:29 P.M. (Local)