BOSTON (AP) — The president of Brazil and the governor of Massachusetts on Tuesday exchanged a toast that they said reflects the deep cultural and economic ties between the South American nation and the state.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports.

President Dilma Rousseff, who took office at the beginning of last year, praised Massachusetts’s political history and dedication to education and said she anticipated that the partnership between Brazil and Massachusetts would become clearer and stronger in years to come.

“This is a state that has posted economic growth among the fastest growth rates in the country and an unemployment rate that is below the national average,” Rousseff said during her visit to the Statehouse. “It is above all truly a hub of education and innovation.”

Rouseff also acknowledged the state’s large Brazilian population during her remarks.

“Massachusetts can also be described as being one of the most Brazilian states of all U.S. states given the fact that the largest foreign community living in Massachusetts is made up by Brazilian countrymen and women,” Rousseff added.

Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick, who visited Brazil during a nine-day trade mission to South America in December, said he was glad to return the favor and welcome Rousseff on behalf of the people of Massachusetts.

“As the sixth largest economy in the world, and home to a large and vibrant part of our immigrant community, Brazil is one of our most important international partners,” Patrick said before lifting a glass of champagne.

Following the toast, Rousseff and Patrick sat down to a lunch of roasted cod and New England clam chowder with political and business leaders in the historic Senate Reading Room.

During his trade mission, Patrick announced an agreement intended to forge closer links between agricultural researchers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, a two-hour drive west of Boston, and their Brazilian counterparts.

He also joined officials from Hopkinton, Mass.-based data storage company EMC Corp. for the groundbreaking of a new EMC research and development center at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Massachusetts and Brazil have strong economic ties. Last year, Massachusetts exported more than $450 million in goods and services to Brazil and accepted more than $130 million in imports from the country.

Rousseff was scheduled to make remarks at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics in Cambridge later Tuesday.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.


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