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Brazil president says gets Trump’s backing for reforms

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Brazilian President Michel Temer gestures during the launch of the Public Transport Fleet Renewal Program at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, on December 13, 2016. Temer celebrated the approval by the National Congress of the constitutional amendment that establishes the limit of expenses for the government in the annual budget.  EVARISTO SA / AFP

Brazilian President Michel Temer gestures during the launch of the Public Transport Fleet Renewal Program at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, on December 13, 2016. Temer celebrated the approval by the National Congress of the constitutional amendment that establishes the limit of expenses for the government in the annual budget.<br />EVARISTO SA / AFP

Brazilian President Michel Temer said Tuesday he has received US President-elect Donald Trump’s support for controversial austerity reforms in Latin America’s biggest economy.

In a “friendly and positive” phone conversation, the incoming US president and his Brazilian counterpart agreed there should be a “pro-growth” agenda” between their countries, the Brazilian presidency said in a statement.

“Temer said that businessmen from the two countries know each other well and want to increase business,” his office said. “He emphasized Brazil’s interest in having more US investments.”

Temer flagged what he said was support from the Republican president-elect for Brazil’s austerity measures, which include a 20-year spending freeze approved by the Senate on Tuesday and plans to raise the retirement age.

Trump “congratulated Temer for reforms and measures to promote growth in Brazil,” the statement said.

Sixty percent of Brazilians oppose the austerity package, according to a new poll, and the spending cap was denounced by a UN expert last week as “a historic mistake.”

Brazil is in a deep recession and has seen its foreign credit ratings reduced to junk status. Temer has warned that without deep reforms, the country faces bankruptcy.


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