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Brazilians Hit Government's Trade Policy

November 15, 1987|From Times Wire Services

RIO DE JANEIRO — The government's staunch protection of local computer producers left the United States no alternative but to impose strict economic sanctions, a Brazilian business leader said Saturday.

President Reagan imposed $105 million in tariffs Friday on some Brazilian exports to the United States and put an embargo on imports of Brazilian computers.

The curbs came after four years of unsuccessful talks between the United States and Brazil, which restricts foreign participation in its computer market. When talks broke down in 1985, the United States took steps toward imposing sanctions, then stopped when Brazil said it would be more flexible.

American computer companies estimate they lost $1.5 billion in potential sales between 1980 and 1984.

After the U.S. move, President Jose Sarney called the tariffs "unwarranted" and threatened to slap curbs on U.S. exports.

But some in the business community criticized Sarney's administration for not being more open and rendering the sanctions inevitable.

"The government should have adopted a more flexible posture," Roberto Vidigal, president of the Sao Paulo Federation of Industries, said.

And Jose Hugo Castelo Branco, the industry and commerce minister, urged the government to tackle the trade dispute "without overdone patriotism."

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