Brazil’s newly elected right-wing populist President Jair Bolsonaro today tried to reassure an audience at the Davos world economic forum that his new regime would be business-friendly and fiscally disciplined.
Bolsonaro said he would move to open up Brazil’s economy, reduce and simplify taxes, fight corruption and privatise state companies.
“We will reduce the tax burden, simplify tax rules and make life easier for those who want to produce, do business, invest and create jobs,” he said.
He also said he would restore the country’s economic stability through financial discipline, but he did not mention pension reform, a major challenge in reining in Brazil's budget deficit.
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, who addressed Davos from Washington DC because of the US Federal shutdown, struck a more bullish note.
Referring to the populist wave that has led to the election of Bolsanaro in Brazil, the success of the Five Star movement and the Northern League in Italy and the Brexit vote in the UK he said: “New winds are blowing across the world.”
Adding: “The central question is this: Do they signal fair weather or foreshadow a storm. Is this pattern of disruption a force for good or not? I’d argue this disruption is a positive development.”
Pompeo said “the unleashing of animal spirits has allowed" the US economy to expand "even as the global slowdown looms.”