Trump hosts Bolsonaro at Florida resort

(190320) — WASHINGTON D.C., March 20, 2019 (Xinhua) — U.S. President Donald Trump (R) attends a joint press conference with his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro at the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on March 19, 2019. U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday indicated that he may support Brazil to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), as the two nations expected to further their economic cooperation. (Xinhua/Ting Shen)

Miami, March 8 (IANS) US President Donald Trump hosted his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro at the former’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and hailed the latter for doing a “great job”, but refused to answer questions over possible tariffs on Brazilian products.

“I don’t make any promises,” Trump told reporters on Saturday night when asked about the tariffs before hosting a dinner for Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro, often dubbed as the “Trump of the tropics”, will on Sunday officially kick off a three-day visit aimed at improving political and economic ties, reports Efe news.

Trump said relations with Brazil were “very good” and that Washington had always helped Brasilia.

The dinner was closed to the press but before it started Trump spoke to a selected group of journalists covering the meeting.

“Brazil loves him. The US loves him. Great job,” Trump said about Bolsonaro, who is accompanied by his son Eduardo – a lawmaker, Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo and Defense Minister Fernando de Azevedo.

Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, who work as senior advisors to the President, also attended the dinner.

Ahead of the visit, Bolsonaro tweeted about his meeting with “my friend Trump” and said the two sides would discuss cooperation in trade, economic and defence-related areas.

A White House official said in a press conference on Saturday that the political crisis in Venezuela could dominate the discussion between the two leaders, apart from topics such as trade and the COVID-19 outbreak.

Bolsonaro is a close ally of the US in its policy to pressurize Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro into holding fair and democratic elections in the South American country.

Both Washington and Brasilia have recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela, and recently Bolsonaro announced the withdrawal of all of his diplomats from Caracas.

On Sunday the Brazilian president would visit the headquarters of the US military’s Southern Command, situated in Doral, a city close to Miami, where he is set to sign a cooperation agreement that would allow Brazil to sell arms and defensive equipment in the US.

The next day he is scheduled to visit a business summit before meeting US politicians and attending an event with the Brazilian diaspora in Miami.

On Tuesday, the last day of his visit, Bolsonaro is expected to visit a factory of Brazilian aeronautical manufacturer Embraer before heading back.

The latest visit comes after Trump had hosted Bolsonaro at the White House in March 2019.

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