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Brazil to reinforce fiscal, democratic and environmental commitments, says Haddad

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's Finance Minister Fernando Haddad attends a news conference in Brasilia, Brazil, January 12, 2023. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

Brazil's delegation arrived at the World Economic Forum (WEF) with a commitment to defend democracy and the sustainability of both its public accounts and the environment, Finance Minister Fernando Haddad said on Monday.

Speaking to journalists at his hotel in Davos, Switzerland, Haddad said that Brazilian institutions "gave a very immediate response" after supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro stormed government buildings in Brasilia on Jan. 8.

"Brazil is committed to the electoral result, to democratic rules, freedom, individual freedoms, respecting constitutional guarantees," said the minister, who is representing the country at Davos along with Environment Minister Marina Silva.

He stressed that the economic model defended by the newly inaugurated government of leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is aiming to boost economic growth with fiscal and environmental sustainability, as well as social justice.

Later on Monday, Haddad met Achim Steiner, head of the U.N. Development Programme, and the new president of the Inter-American Development Bank, Brazilian Ilan Goldfajn.

After the meetings, Haddad told journalists that the IDB showed interest in financing clean energy in Brazil, in remarks broadcast on TV GloboNews.

Haddad and Silva will discuss the country's economic, social and environmental road map at a WEF panel on Tuesday.

"We can think about the reindustrialization of Brazil based on sustainability," said Haddad, who also said Brazil wants to resume its environmental commitments by combating deforestation and advancing in renewable energy.

The minister last week presented an ambitious plan to more than halve the government's estimated deficit this year by boosting tax revenue and trimming expenditures.

Still, investors are awaiting details of new fiscal rules from the government. Lula secured early congressional support for a spending package bypassing a constitutional spending cap, adding to concerns about fiscal discipline.

Haddad said it was "very realistic" for the country to end this year with a primary budget deficit of 1% of gross domestic product, assuming that part of the fiscal measures are effective.

He also said the government wants to vote on a tax reform in the first half of the year after reaching a consensus text based on two proposals that are already in Congress.

(Reporting by Marcela AyresEditing by Alistair Bell)

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