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By Vittorio Hernandez
Sao Paolo, Brazil
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced the creation of a chief executive forum as part of the two countries' plan to strengthen their trade ties.
The CEO forum would engage in executive talent search from both nations, who would provide advice on how Ottawa and Sao Paolo could expand bilateral trade between the two countries.
Harper, who is on his first trip to the world's seventh largest economy, said Brazil is a priority market for Canada.
He cited the many common characteristics between the two countries such as a large, but sparsely inhabited land area, multiculture and multiethnic diversity and a robust agricultural sector.
Harper and Rousseff signed trade agreements to facilitate air travel and commerce between the two countries, cut restriction on payment of pension benefits to nationals who retire in either nations and boost cooperation on foreign-aid initiatives.
About 50,000 Brazilians visit Canada yearly and the number is expected to go up with the signing of the agreements.
The inking of deals with Brazil is an indicator that Ottawa is looking beyond the U.S. for trade ties.
The two-way trade between Brazil and Canada reached $5.9 billion in 2010.
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