Brazil Closer To Boeing On Jets Deal After Biden Visit

By Brian Winter/Reuters

Handicapping Brazil’s decision on the jets deal has been difficult, largely because it has dragged on for so long.

Brazil first began looking into replacing its aging Mirage jets in the 1990s, and Rousseff’s predecessor declared publicly in 2009 he was going to choose Dassault.

Yet for a variety of reasons, from budget constraints to election cycles, successive governments have not pulled the trigger. Company executives, some of whom have spent a decade or more pursuing Brazil, have joked in private that the country may have no real intention of buying the jets at all.

LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP

Nevertheless, there are mounting reasons to believe that Rousseff will announce her decision before the end of this year, and that Boeing will be the winner.

Brazil’s military has said maintaining its Mirages will become difficult after this year. Meanwhile, the sensitivities of spending billions of dollars during a rough economic spell could lead Rousseff to announce her decision before 2014, when she faces reelection.

Rousseff has cast the deal as a crucial part of Brazil’s strategic alignment for decades to come - a message she repeated to Biden on Friday, the officials said.

While defying Washington’s wishes on issues like Syria, Rousseff has sought a closer partnership with the United States. She has received a steady stream of Cabinet secretaries and senators, and accepted Obama’s invitation for a state visit, the first by a Brazilian leader in 20 years.


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