Institutional Relevance of the Proposal

The monitoring system will be designed for multiple purposes. In the academic field, one of the system’s main purposes will be to support the work of graduate students and research groups. International negotiations have been a recurring topic of much research in the field of international relations in Brazil. The system, besides providing systematic information and analysis, will allow for methodological innovation in this area of research.

It is essential, however, that the system’s usefulness not be restricted to academic centers. It must also be accessible to foreign trade decision-makers in government and the private sector. To this end, the system will be designed to allow users to make queries quickly and efficiently.

A concrete example may help explain how the system will be designed and how it will be used by researchers and decision-makers. Take, for example, the future formation of a free trade area between China and India,[1] among many other trade agreements that will be part of the monitoring system.[2] Once discovered, such a proposal would be input into the system, and its objectives, stage of development, stakeholders, etc. would be identified. The following information would also be included: analysis of potential impacts (both sectoral and comprehensive), relevant databases, simulations of impacts on Brazilian foreign trade, and updates on the agreement’s progress through the relevant national legislatures.

The system will be accessible with login information available upon request from the institution that manages the network. Crucially, the system will serve as a tool both for Brazilian executive-branch negotiators directly involved in negotiations and for other governmental, legal, commercial, and academic institutions.

The system will also serve as a resource for graduate research in the field of international negotiations. In fact, integrating an analytical capacity into the system is one of the key innovative elements of this proposal. Although there is significant scholarship on international trade negotiations in Brazil, there is no system that efficiently manages this scholarly output in an integrated way.

Establishing Brazilian centers of excellence and research groups on international trade reflects, as one might expect, the strategic priorities of the country, given that Brazil has adopted a model of competitive integration rather than one of import substitution. In this context, Brazilian trade diplomacy has consolidated around two main strategic axes: the developed centers and South America.

The purpose of trade diplomacy focused on the traditional centers of the world economy – the United States and Europe – was to eliminating trade barriers in order to expand exports and investment. Brazilian diplomacy leveraged multilateral trade organizations, especially WTO, in areas of dispute in North-South trade relations. South America, for its part, played a more strategic role in Brazilian diplomacy, with a clear objective of regional integration. In this way, there arose a diplomatic approach with two pillars – namely, the U.S.-European Union pillar and the regional (South American) pillar.

In this context, Brazil’s relationship with certain emerging markets in the South – e.g., China, India, Indonesia, and South Africa – played mainly a strategic role in the game of multilateral relations and global governance. Partnership with these countries was a tactical step to gain bargaining power in multilateral relations. Brazil’s relationship with emerging economies of the South was marked by emphasis on partnerships in terms of multilateral trade negotiations, coupled with low levels of effective trade interdependence.

As a result, research centers and programs in Brazil specialized in studying Brazil’s relations with Europe and the United States and with South American nations. Two examples of this institutional profile are the Institute for Studies on the United States (INCT-INEU) and the Institute of European Studies, recently created by a consortium of Brazilian and European universities. However, there are no centers of excellence in the State of São Paulo specifically dedicated to studying emerging economies such as India and China.

Two phenomena were instrumental in changing the structure of international trade. First, there was the dynamization of a series of Southern economies, called emerging economies.[3] Second, in the first decade of the 21st century, developed economies, traditionally seen as the engines of the global economy, lost some of their economic dynamism.

These two phenomena, tied to the crisis of trade liberalization promoted by the WTO, induced changes in the posture of trade diplomacy for Brazil and other countries. Instead of tactical partnerships directed exclusively at enhancing bargaining at the multilateral level, Brazilian diplomacy began to promote the expansion of ties with Southern markets. In large part, as a result of the stagnation of North-South relations, the growth potential of Brazil’s foreign trade has become dependent on these new dynamic centers.

Changes in the structure of international trade, as well as the relative position of Brazil in this arena, were not, however, accompanied by the establishment of centers of excellence devoted to understanding South-South relations. Among the few initiatives focused on this dynamic, it is worth highlighting the creation of a three-edition program on IBSA with support from the Ford Foundation in Brazil and the creation of a center for studies of the BRICs affiliated with PUC-Rio. So far, USP has not created a similar program.

Although these initiatives are of great importance, existing programs alone are not sufficient to address the deficit of systematic knowledge of the prospects of and barriers to Brazilian trade relations with emerging economies. The institutionalization of this research program should inform strategies within the government and its distinct bureaucracies as well as private strategies for international commercial engagement.

Apart from supporting government bodies and private firms, the center’s purpose will be to form international research networks made ​​up of researchers from Brazil and countries selected for the sample. The institute will thus serve to stimulate internationalization in the two main areas that relate to this proposal: international relations and political science. Here it is worth reiterating that the internationalization of academia in these two areas is mostly oriented toward dynamic centers.

The purpose of setting up this research center is therefore to fill this gap by creating the first Brazilian center for strategic intelligence on South-South trade. The center will be focused on structuring advanced research on the potential for and barriers to trade, investment, and technological exchange between Brazil and the Southern countries, especially India, South Africa, and China. The choice of these countries stems from their potential to become economically consequential regional poles.

The new NAP has as its starting point the Center for Studies on International Negotiations (Centro de Estudos das Negociações Internacionais, or Caeni), a research laboratory affiliated with the Department of Political Science at USP (see annex I). The Center, established in 2001, has dedicated the past ten years to studying trade and international commercial negotiations. Over this period, 14 research projects have been developed with funding from research agencies that were both public (FAPESP, CNPq, and the National School of Public Administration) and private (the Ford Foundation and the American Chamber of Commerce).

Three of Caeni’s projects stand out for having brought together teams of researchers: two FAPESP research programs in public policy and one CNPq program for young researchers. Besides these projects, Caeni researchers have experience coordinating various research projects, such as research support at FAPESP, the universal project at CNPq, and the Ford Foundation’s program on intermediate countries.

Caeni’s research revolves around three main themes: multilateralism and South-South relations, domestic actors in the formulation and conduct of foreign policy, and the determinants of adherence to international regimes. These three research sub-themes provide the basis for structuring the new NAP.

In addition to the body of research it has developed, the Center has also sought to help train professionals working in the field of trade and international economic negotiations. This experience will also be of great value in establishing the NAP. One of the important functions of this new Center will be to train young people in designing research on South-South relations. Aptitude in international negotiations, conflict resolution, and quantitative methodology applied to international relations are some of the skills required by such researchers, and these skills are already addressed by Caeni’s training program. A more detailed description of the Center can be found in the proposal’s appendix.

[1] The free trade agreement between India and China (Indo-China FTA) is scheduled to be implemented in 2013 (Weerahewa, 2007).

[2] Another example along the same lines is the agreement between South Korea and the European Union. The Free Trade Agreement between South Korea and the European Union, signed in October 2009, is considered one of the major trade agreements in recent years. The agreement provides for a gradual reduction, over five years, of tariffs on 96% of exports from Europe and 99% of exports from South Korea. The treaty impacts Brazilian sectors that face Korean competition. As soon as South Korea were to become part of the analysis system, this agreement would also be evaluated.


[3] The seven largest emerging economies are: China, India, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, Mexico, and Turkey.

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