|10BRASILIA104||2010-02-02 19:25:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Brasilia|
1. (SBU) On January 29 negotiators from the Brazilian Finance
(Fazenda), Ministry of External Relations (MRE), and the Ministry
of the Environment (MMA) met via digital videoconference with
representatives from the U.S. Department of State, Treasury
Department and USAID to finalize the text of the Tropical Forest
Conservation Act Agreement (TFCA) between the two countries.
2. (SBU) The tone of the discussions was positive and reflected a
strong commitment on both sides to conclude this agreement. See
reftel about Brazil's high-level interest in establishing a TFCA
program. The two sides were able to agree upon text that addressed
the majority of their differences, though they did identify a few,
largely technical, differences that have yet to be resolved. The
U.S. side stressed the importance of timing in regard to completing
the agreement and requested that the Brazilians provide additional
information on a timeframe for Brazilian Senate consideration and
approval of the agreement.
3. (SBU) Both sides agreed on a series of next steps to, each of
which was assigned to one of the two delegations. In conversations
with Science Officer after the videoconference, Brazilian
counterparts stressed that establishing a TFCA program is important
and that they felt the few remaining differences were resolvable.
The Brazilian side hopes to complete its action items within a
4. (SBU) On February 2, the lead negotiator from the Finance
Ministry, Fabiola Saldanha, an attorney in the Office of General
Coordination for Financial Operations, informed the Embassy that
the Brazilian side believes the remaining details can be resolved
swiftly. She thought the TFCA agreement should be ready to send to
the Brazilian Senate for approval shortly, which should coincide
with the Senate returning to session in March. On the question of
when the Senate would be likely to approve the agreement, she did
not want to add anything to what she had said in the
videoconference, (i.e. an expectation of passage by June or July.)
She noted that the Finance Ministry works daily with these types of
contracts and their experience clearly demonstrates a lack of a
pattern. However, she confirmed that the Brazilian side could work
with the key Senators and "with this we expect a rapid approval."
Further, she reaffirmed that while the Senate theoretically can
modify the text of agreements sent to it for approval, it does not
do so as a practical matter.