Brazil's Rousseff tries to boost U.S. ties but state visit up in the air

lunes 17 de noviembre de 2014 11:23 GYT

By Anthony Boadle

BRASILIA Nov 17 (Reuters) - Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, who canceled a White House trip last year in anger over U.S. spying revelations, now wants to improve ties and reschedule the state visit - but some U.S. officials warn it might not be that easy.

A debate in Washington over whether and when to re-extend the invitation to Rousseff reflects persistent diplomatic strains between the Americas' two largest economies, which have long struggled with different philosophies on trade how to handle regional flashpoints such as Venezuela and Cuba.

Shortly after being re-elected to a second term on Oct. 26, Rousseff told U.S. Vice President Joe Biden by phone that she wanted to restart discussions "right away" for a formal state visit, according to a statement from her office.

Such an event includes a banquet at the White House, and there are typically only one or two a year.

Some U.S. officials told Reuters they are eager to go ahead with Rousseff's trip, which was originally conceived as a way to celebrate Brazil's robust democracy and help pry open its $2.1 trillion economy, one of the world's most closed to trade.

Yet others argue that the leftist Rousseff must first show she is willing to advance on trade and investment treaties, since state visits are almost always accompanied by a robust flurry of bilateral deals.

"There's just so little substance to hang this on," one U.S. official said on condition of anonymity. "Until we advance on that, I don't think you'll see us set a date."

Rousseff became one of the only leaders ever to cancel a state visit to Washington in October 2013, following revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on her and millions of other Brazilians.   Continuación...