Appeal to Trump could clinch Brazil OECD membership: ministry

FILE PHOTO - Brazil's President-elect Jair Bolsonaro walks at the Army Headquarters in Brasilia, Brazil December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

BRASILIA (Reuters) - An appeal to U.S. President Donald Trump by President-elect Jair Bolsonaro to lift Washington’s opposition could allow Brazil’s entry to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the finance ministry said on Wednesday.

In a report on economic prospects for Bolsonaro’s incoming government, the ministry said the main obstacle to Brazil’s request to join the OECD made in May 2017 was opposition by the United States and the U.S. Trade Representative’s office in particular.

“A direct appeal to the U.S. president by the president-elect would make a fundamental difference,” the report recommended.

The 37-member OECD is a forum for democratic countries with solid market economies. In Latin America, only Chile, Mexico and Colombia are members, but not the region’s largest economy, Brazil.

The ministry said Brazil’s application is well advanced and should be ready in March.

Bolsonaro, a far-right politician who shares Trump’s conservative nationalist views, takes office on Jan. 1, promising to adopt orthodox economic policies in one of the world’s most protected economies.

The ministry’s report said the United States has been committed to backing Argentina to join the OECD, but Brazil’s South American neighbor has hardly begun the accession process.

The report added that the U.S. Trade Representative’s office has opposed Brazil’s entry, citing “anachronistic positions that Brazilian governments have taken in trade negotiation organizations” while the Federal Reserve and the Treasury and State departments back its membership.

Reporting by Marcela Ayres; editing by Jonathan Oatis; Writing by Anthony Boadle