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Hart Speaks Against Trade Protectionism

March 17, 1987

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) _ Former U.S. Sen. Gary Hart said the United States should increase imports from Brazil and condemned trade protectionism as harmful to the developing world.

Hart, who lost 1984 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination but is considered a frontrunner for the 1988 candidacy, met Monday with President Jose Sarney, Brazil’s first civilian leader after 21 years of military rule.

″We talked about the economic and political situation in Brazil,″ Hart told The Associated Press. ″Sarney assessed his two years in power and we also discussed trade protectionism in my own party as well as the Brazilian debt.″

Hart said he strongly opposed protectionist trade policies.

″The message I have given Sarney is that my own party understands there’s no long term promise in protectionism but short-term damage and economic problems,″ he said.

The former senator from Colorado said he and Sarney discussed Brazil’s recent decision to halt interest payments on the country’s $108 billion debt, the largest in the Third World.

″We’re aware of the important role Brazil plays in Latin America,″ Hart later said at a luncheon given by the Foreign Ministry. ″And our friendship should transcend balance sheets, banks and creditors. We’re all in this together and we cannot deal as adversaries.″

Hart said the United States should increase imports from Brazil and open up ″co-production in manufacturing and heavy equipment″ similar to joint venture projects Brazil has with other countries.

Hart traveled from Brasilia to Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city and main industrial center. He plans to visit Argentina later this week.

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