Biden calls for 'new era' in US relations with Latin America during trip to Brazil

Vice President Biden called for a “new era” in U.S. relations with Latin America during his trip to Brazil on Wednesday.

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Brazil is Biden's final stop of a trip that has already taken him to Colombia and Trinidad and Tobago. He is scheduled to meet with President Dilma Rousseff on Thursday and invite her in October to the only state visit being hosted by President Obama this year.

“President Obama and I believe that the times present an incredible opportunity for a new era of relations between the United States and the Americas,” Biden said in a speech at Rio de Janeiro's Pier Mauá. “We've never had so many capable partners. And American attitudes have changed as well.”

The comments echo Obama's own increased outreach to Latin America during his second term. During his visit to Mexico and Costa Rica earlier this month, the president repeatedly said the United States and Latin American countries were in a relationship between “equal partners” that is no longer dominated by America's security and immigration concerns.

“No partner is more important in this endeavor than Brazil,” Biden said.

The visit is aimed in part to drum up business with the world's seventh largest economy: Biden is scheduled to visit the semi-public energy corporation Petrobras's Centro de Pesquisas facility in Rio to discuss energy cooperation between Brazil and the United States, and will meet later with Brazilian business, trade, and investment leaders at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro Technology Park. 

On Tuesday, he signed a U.S.-Caribbean Community Trade and Investment Framework Agreement establishing a U.S.-CARICOM Trade and Investment Council to boost the sale of goods and services between the United States and CARICOM's 15 members.

Obama has made six trips to Latin America and the Caribbean since taking office, while Biden has made four visits to the region. He said Obama has tasked him with making future trips in the fall and the winter as the administration seeks to engage with the region's booming economies.

“It's real simple,” Biden said. “We want to engage more. We think there's great opportunity.”

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