Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Spying Allegations Could Cast Cloud over Brazil-Canada Business Relationship

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Spying Allegations Could Cast Cloud over Brazil-Canada Business Relationship

Article excerpt

Spying allegations could cast cloud

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OTTAWA - Allegations Canadian spies targeted Brazil's Mines and Energy Ministry could cast a cloud over tens of billions of annual trade and investment between the two countries.

Brazil President Dilma Rousseff recently cancelled a scheduled state visit to the United States over similar allegations, Maxwell Cameron, a political science professor at the University of British Columbia, said Monday.

"She is now demanding an explanation from the Canadian government," he said.

"I think we're in hot water here and this is a major set back for the whole policy with respect to Latin America that this government has been pursuing."

The report on Brazil's Globo television on Sunday night said the metadata of phone calls and emails from and to the Brazilian ministry were targeted by the Communications Security Establishment Canada.

The Canadian government has declined to comment. But the Brazilian president said Monday it appeared to be an act of industrial espionage and summoned the Canadian ambassador to explain.

Foreign direct investment by Brazil in Canada totalled $15.8 billion last year, while Canadian direct investment in Brazil was $9.8 billion.

Canadian exports to Brazil amounted to nearly $2.6 billion, while imports from Brazil were nearly $4 billion.

That trade relationship remains strong, Raul Papaleo, president of the Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce, said Monday.

"The diplomats in service here, they're saying to the Brazilian government that Canada is one of the best, if not the best place to have bilateral business," Papaleo said.

However, Cameron suggested the allegations, based on documents leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, will make it more difficult for Canada to improve its relationship.

He said the countries fought a long running battle between Bombardier and Embraer over subsidies for the South American regional jet builder.

"The effort to put behind us commercial competition and establish firmer and broader relationships with Brazil are drastically set back by these revelations," Cameron said. …

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