Just as the United States looks to take a more protectionist tilt, Brazil is talking up its push towards free trade.
At this weekend's meeting of G-20 finance ministers, Brazil was one several nations to point out dangers of anti-globalization — a message crafted largely for listeners in the United States. The country's finance minister, Henrique Meirelles, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that, "we had adopted during the last years some protectionist measures for some sectors of the economy, and the net result was not positive."
"At the end of the day, the products became more expensive and Brazil…became less competitive," he told the newspaper. "In Brazil, we are moving toward a more open trade policy."
The Latin American giant is attempting to recover from an economic recession which hit under the 13-year leadership of the populist Workers' Party. That control ended last year when President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers' Party was impeached. Her successor, President Michel Temer, has called for greater openness on trade.
Ease of Doing Business ranking
Source: World Bank "Doing Business in 2017" survey, JPMorgan Asset Management.
"As a result of many years of a wary attitude to trade, the comments you hear from Brazilian officials today have a different flavor, a more open flavor," said Alejo Czerwonko, emerging market strategist at UBS Wealth Management.
"The new rhetoric toward more trade openness in Brazil is important," he said. But, "Brazil remains a relatively closed economy. Opening up takes time."
Other analysts agree.
"There are very many different models and in Latin America specifically, Brazil is learning from the countries Mexico, Colombia and Chile," said Gabriela Santos, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management.
As for any lessons on how protectionism might affect U.S. growth, "it's much too early for us to speculate," Santos said. "Looking forward, the shift in tone is important but you also have to see the implementation of change."