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Hollande vows to share French technology with Brazil

13 december 2013, 15:23
0
French President Francois Hollande, on a state visit to Brazil, on touted his country's readiness Thursday to share its technological know-how with the emerging South American powerhouse, AFP reports.

After holding talks in Brasilia with counterpart Dilma Rousseff, the French leader arrived in the economic capital of Sao Paulo to meet the local French community.

On Friday, he was to call on Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin, then huddle with executives of the state's powerful Federation of Industries before departing for neighboring French Guiana.

Hollande said that what set France apart from Brazil's other foreign partners is its "willingness to share technology" through 600 French companies on Brazilian soil, as well as academic and scientific cooperation.

"In all fields we are committed to sharing our experiences," he said.

France is the fifth biggest investor in Brazil, with bilateral trade totaling nearly $9 billion.

"Despite the crisis, our trade exchanges have steadily increased and have even doubled in 10 years," Hollande said earlier, referring to the global downturn of 2008.

"We have big ambitions, Brazil and France, to again double our trade in the coming years," he added alongside Rousseff.

The two sides decided to prioritize the energy, transportation and high technology sectors, he said.

French companies are already involved in key strategic and infrastructure projects in the aerospace, military, energy, car, hotel and food sectors.

But Hollande, who was accompanied by a large business delegation and eight ministers, said the strategic partnership, in place since 2006, must be strengthened further.

Rousseff meanwhile said cooperation in the defense industry and high tech sector was key, noting Brazil would acquire a supercomputer from France.

Rousseff also thanked France for supporting the joint Brazilian-German United Nations initiative to strengthen Internet privacy and governance after recent disclosures of massive US cyberspying.

"We are very much interested in a partnership with France in all aspects of cyberdefense," she said.

Brazil has been angered by reports of US electronic spying on government communications, as well as phone call data and emails of millions of Brazilians.

Those disclosures, drawn from revelations by US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, led Rousseff to reprimand the United States at the UN General Assembly in September and to scrap a state visit to Washington.

Several contracts and accords were signed, including some already announced, such as the supply of a $550 million civilian-military telecoms satellite by French-Italian firm Thales Alenia Space.

Rousseff highlighted French energy giant Total's participation in exploring the huge ultra-deepwater Libra oil field off southeast Brazil.

And Hollande cited France's nuclear energy giant Areva's $1.37 billion contract to build a third reactor at the Angra nuclear power plant in Rio de Janeiro state.

There was no decision on France's bid to sell its Rafale fighter jet. Brazil is looking to buy 36 multi-purpose jets to modernize its air force -- a multi-billion-dollar deal -- and the issue has been at the center of bilateral talks in recent years.

The Rafale fighter, built by French firm Dassault Aviation, is up against US aviation giant Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet and Swedish manufacturer Saab's Gripen.

Six months before the kickoff of the World Cup, Hollande also bestowed the Legion d'honneur, France's highest award, on retired football star Rai Souza Vieira de Oliveira.

Rai, as he was known, had a stellar career with Paris Saint-Germain in the 1990s.

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