Barbados and Brazil must continue to build on the diplomatic ties established since 1971 as well as on the agreements signed to date.

This was the key message sent last night by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, as she addressed a cocktail reception at the Pullman Hotel, Ibirapuera, Sao Paulo. It was held to thank the Government and people of Brazil for the hospitality shown to the Barbados delegation, now currently winding down a week-long Political/Commercial Mission in that country.

Stressing that the historic Mission was intended to strengthen and deepen political and cultural ties with that country, as well as to advance economic interests to the mutual benefit of both, Senator McClean said: ???Over the last 42 years, we have laid the foundation for bilateral engagement upon which we must continue to build. In recent times, important advances have been made in the deepening of the relationship between our two countries.

???I refer to the conclusion and signing of the Air Services Agreement between Barbados and Brazil; the Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Matters of Common Interest; the Protocol of Intent on Technical Cooperation in the Health Sector; and the Barbados/Brazil Agreements on Technical Cooperation in Education, and in Culture.???

The Foreign Trade Minister further noted that the Agreements demonstrated that both countries possessed the determination to build stronger political and economic relationships. And she added: ???These instruments will also facilitate increased opportunities for tourism, trade and commercial activity. We must build on what we have accomplished together to date.???

Looking to the future with Brazil, Senator McClean, stressed that her country was ???eager to formalise trade relations in a framework which lent itself to reliability, transparency and predictability???. She called them ???key ingredients in the realisation of a mutually beneficial relationship,??? and said Barbados was convinced that together ???we can build a strategic partnership aimed at the mutual development of our people???.

Recounting the experience over the last few days in Brazil, Senator McClean pointed out that the delegates had ???engaged in very productive discussions with members of the public and private sectors??? and had enjoyed ???the warmth and friendliness for which Brazilians are known across the globe???.

???We have also been witness to your rich biodiversity which is renowned as the greatest and most diverse in the world,??? Ms. McClean said, of the largest country in the South American continent with a population of almost 200 million and considered the sixth biggest economy in the world.

The cocktail reception saw steel pan player, David ???Ziggy??? Walcott; jazz singer Kellie Cadogan and Stedson ???Red Plastic Bag??? Wiltshire performing to a Brazilian audience, while the manufacturing sector exhibited some of the best products and services, available in Barbados.

Acknowledging that Barbados had been made keenly aware of what Brazil had to offer, Senator McClean added that the intention of the Mission was also to help these companies find new business partners in Brazil.

???The resulting collaboration will help to further stimulate cooperation between our two countries. By working together, this Mission can truly be advantageous for both Barbadian and Brazilian companies and workers. I know that we have done our utmost to extract maximum benefits from this exercise,??? the Minister said, as she was also joined on the Mission by Ambassador of Barbados to Brazil, Her Excellency Yvette Goddard, who journeyed from Brasilia to Sao Paulo to meet with key political and economic figures.

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