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Brazil’s World Class Industrial Espionage Problem

Brazil's World Class Industrial Espionage Problem

Recent news from the information provided by Edward Snowden has placed the United States out of favour with Brazil when it was revealed that the U.S. has been spying on Brazil. Along with the U.S. allegation, Canada was also brought into the debate when it was alleged that Canadian intelligence agents have been sourcing private information about Brazil’s energy sector through one of Brazil’s agencies.

The United States is often suspected of having ties within foreign governments due to the influence the U.S. has worldwide, but when it was revealed that Canada was spying on Brazil, the peace loving image of the maple leaf had left a sour taste in the syrup for many in Latin America’s largest nation.

Today Canada is at the point of solidifying a Free Trade Agreement with the EU, the end result of several missions to increase Free Trade with some of the world’s largest economies. An FTA between Canada and Brazil was also a hopeful outcome for the last decade, especially since the BRICS nations now represent some of the largest economies worldwide. Spying by possible future trade partners is something that was not expected in Brazil. Brazil was not a traditional target of industrial espionage as the economic weight and international importance of Brazil is a relatively recent phenomenon. Out of the 4 initial BRIC nations, Brazil is the only country that does not possess an immediate security threat from its neighbors. Out of the four initial BRIC nations, both Russia and China have spied on other nations, including Canada. While spying on other nations is illegal under international norms, it is also not the first instance of it occurring among competing economies.

Canada and Brazil have suffered from accelerated misunderstandings by foolish political decisions and false conflicts created to salt the relationship between two of the largest economies in the Americas. While a physical and cultural distance and the vulnerability of both counties and their most influential corporations have fuelled conflicts in the aviation and energy sector for over 20 years, there seems to be little understanding on how to form a professional and dynamic relationship between Canada and Brazil. Any solution should include the formation of a professional and respected commercial and political dialogue between both countries involving those citizens who have already made personal connections between both countries. Political leaders should refrain from getting into the ring on behalf of local corporations, and spying on their behalf should also be prohibited. Locals who take an interest in Canada or Brazil need to be supported, firstly by not being immersed in a political and economic lose-lose situation for both countries. Anything less is simply a lost opportunity for all Brazilians and Canadians alike.



Richard Basas

Richard Basas, a Canadian Masters Level Law student educated in Spain, England, and Canada (U of London MA 2003 LL.M., 2007), has worked researching for CSIS and as a Reporter for the Latin America Advisor. He went on to study his MA in Latin American Political Economy in London with the University of London and LSE. Subsequently, Rich followed his career into Law focusing mostly on International Commerce and EU-Americas issues. He has worked for many commercial and legal organisations as well as within the Refugee Protection Community in Toronto, Canada, representing detained non-status indivduals residing in Canada. Rich will go on to study his PhD in International Law.

Areas of Focus:
Law; Economics and Commerce; Americas; Europe; Refugees; Immigration