Convergence of Brazilian policies with normative instruments will have to be more than promises
Brazil submitted its application to join the OECD in May 2017 — Foto: Divulgação/OCDE
The Bolsonaro administration is expected to present this Friday to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) — on the eve of the first round of the presidential election — the memorandum necessary to effectively begin negotiations to join the body.
Sources in the private sector believe there is resistance from the Workers’ Party (PT) candidate, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, to work for Brazil to join the OECD. The annoyance with this position — together with an eventual plan to reopen the Mercosur-European Union agreement and to create an export tax on agricultural products — would have been taken to Mr. Lula da Silva, who publicly has not talked about the subjects any further. However, neither is it clear what his administration would do.
Brazil submitted its application to join the OECD in May 2017. It waited five years to receive the invitation letter in June of this year to start negotiating the conditions for becoming a member.
Now, the government will present the so-called initial memorandum on Friday. This is a report in which Brazil answers about the degree of convergence of Brazilian policies with 230 of 262 normative instruments of the OECD.
Basically, the country has to say whether it has already implemented or how it intends to align with all these OECD practices or recommendations. The entity then distributes the report to 26 committees, which will send out questionnaires, and make visits to the country, among other things.
What is apparently a technical job is, however, becoming increasingly political. Member countries have already made it clear to Brazil that, this time, no candidate country will leave any measure for later, based on future promises. In other words, there is no admittance with a “debt,” unlike what happened to countries like Chile and Colombia, which continued to justify why they did not complete the implementation of certain commitments years after they became partners.
So, Brazil will first need to reduce deforestation in order to be accepted. It is not going to be possible just to present a deforestation reduction target.
Besides this, member countries expect greater common engagement, which pushes the “like-minded” issue into the political arena. In other words, foreign policy will enter strongly into the negotiations for Brazil to join the OECD, unlike what happened with other countries that are already inside the organization today.
An example happened in March when Brazil abstained from a vote to condemn Russia at UNESCO — which has nothing to do with the economy and the OECD. European countries showed intense annoyance. Brazil’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, known as Itamaraty, argued that it had already voted in the UN Security Council against Russia, but that it considered that Unesco was not the forum for that kind of initiative. It took a lot of explanations until the path was reopened for the OECD invitation, in June. But the message was clear to Brasília, whoever the president.
*By Assis Moreira — Geneva