After visiting Colombia and Trinidad and Tobago this week, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden began a three day tour of Brazil today that is expected to focus largely on energy cooperation and economic growth.
Biden’s first stop on his tour is Rio de Janeiro. While there, the vice president will address energy-sector business leaders, tour a Petrobras deep-water oil exploration research facility and visit community leaders in a favela. On Friday, he will travel to the capital city of Brasilia to meet with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
The discovery of large oil reserves off the coast of Brazil could help reduce U.S. dependence on oil in the Middle East, and U.S. technology designed to extract shale gas could serve as the foundation of an energy deal between the two countries. Vice President Biden and President Rousseff are also expected to discuss Rousseff’s October trip to the United States. It will mark the first state visit by a Brazilian executive to the U.S. in nearly twenty years.
In addition to the bilateral agenda—which includes energy cooperation and development projects in science and technology as part of Brazil’s Science Without Borders initiative—the vice president’s trip also reiterates the United States’ interest in Latin America as a strategic economic partner. Prior to Biden’s tour of the region, President Obama visited Mexico and Costa Rica earlier this month.