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South America :: Brazil
page last updated on October 28, 2009
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Location of Brazil
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Introduction ::Brazil
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Following more than three centuries under Portuguese rule, Brazil peacefully gained its independence in 1822, maintaining a monarchical system of government until the abolition of slavery in 1888 and the subsequent proclamation of a republic by the military in 1889. Brazilian coffee exporters politically dominated the country until populist leader Getulio VARGAS rose to power in 1930. By far the largest and most populous country in South America, Brazil underwent more than half a century of populist and military government until 1985, when the military regime peacefully ceded power to civilian rulers. Brazil continues to pursue industrial and agricultural growth and development of its interior. Exploiting vast natural resources and a large labor pool, it is today South America's leading economic power and a regional leader. Highly unequal income distribution and crime remain pressing problems.
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Geography ::Brazil
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Eastern South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean
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10 00 S, 55 00 W
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total: 8,514,877 sq km
country comparison to the world: 5
land: 8,459,417 sq km
water: 55,460 sq km
note: includes Arquipelago de Fernando de Noronha, Atol das Rocas, Ilha da Trindade, Ilhas Martin Vaz, and Penedos de Sao Pedro e Sao Paulo
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slightly smaller than the US
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total: 16,885 km
border countries: Argentina 1,261 km, Bolivia 3,423 km, Colombia 1,644 km, French Guiana 730 km, Guyana 1,606 km, Paraguay 1,365 km, Peru 2,995 km, Suriname 593 km, Uruguay 1,068 km, Venezuela 2,200 km
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7,491 km
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territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to edge of the continental margin
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mostly tropical, but temperate in south
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mostly flat to rolling lowlands in north; some plains, hills, mountains, and narrow coastal belt
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lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico da Neblina 3,014 m
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bauxite, gold, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, platinum, tin, uranium, petroleum, hydropower, timber
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arable land: 6.93%
permanent crops: 0.89%
other: 92.18% (2005)
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29,200 sq km (2003)
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8,233 cu km (2000)
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total: 59.3 cu km/yr (20%/18%/62%)
per capita: 318 cu m/yr (2000)
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recurring droughts in northeast; floods and occasional frost in south
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deforestation in Amazon Basin destroys the habitat and endangers a multitude of plant and animal species indigenous to the area; there is a lucrative illegal wildlife trade; air and water pollution in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and several other large cities; land degradation and water pollution caused by improper mining activities; wetland degradation; severe oil spills
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party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
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largest country in South America; shares common boundaries with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador
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People ::Brazil
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198,739,269
country comparison to the world: 5
note: Brazil conducted a census in August 2000, which reported a population of 169,872,855; that figure was about 3.8% lower than projections by the US Census Bureau, and is close to the implied underenumeration of 4.6% for the 1991 census (July 2009 est.)
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0-14 years: 26.7% (male 27,092,880/female 26,062,244)
15-64 years: 66.8% (male 65,804,108/female 67,047,725)
65 years and over: 6.4% (male 5,374,230/female 7,358,082) (2009 est.)
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total: 28.6 years
male: 27.8 years
female: 29.3 years (2009 est.)
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1.199% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110
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18.43 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111
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6.35 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151
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-0.09 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90
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urban population: 86% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.8% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
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at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
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total: 22.58 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 97
male: 26.16 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 18.83 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
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total population: 71.99 years
country comparison to the world: 121
male: 68.43 years
female: 75.73 years (2009 est.)
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2.21 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116
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0.6% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66
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730,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
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15,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
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noun: Brazilian(s)
adjective: Brazilian
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white 53.7%, mulatto (mixed white and black) 38.5%, black 6.2%, other (includes Japanese, Arab, Amerindian) 0.9%, unspecified 0.7% (2000 census)
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Roman Catholic (nominal) 73.6%, Protestant 15.4%, Spiritualist 1.3%, Bantu/voodoo 0.3%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.2%, none 7.4% (2000 census)
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Portuguese (official and most widely spoken language); note - less common languages include Spanish (border areas and schools), German, Italian, Japanese, English, and a large number of minor Amerindian languages
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 88.6%
male: 88.4%
female: 88.8% (2004 est.)
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total: 14 years
male: 14 years
female: 15 years (2005)
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4% of GDP (2004)
country comparison to the world: 105
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Government ::Brazil
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conventional long form: Federative Republic of Brazil
conventional short form: Brazil
local long form: Republica Federativa do Brasil
local short form: Brasil
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federal republic
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name: Brasilia
geographic coordinates: 15 47 S, 47 55 W
time difference: UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins third Sunday in October; ends third Sunday in February
note: Brazil is divided into four time zones, including one for the Fernando de Noronha Islands
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26 states (estados, singular - estado) and 1 federal district* (distrito federal); Acre, Alagoas, Amapa, Amazonas, Bahia, Ceara, Distrito Federal*, Espirito Santo, Goias, Maranhao, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Para, Paraiba, Parana, Pernambuco, Piaui, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul, Rondonia, Roraima, Santa Catarina, Sao Paulo, Sergipe, Tocantins
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7 September 1822 (from Portugal)
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Independence Day, 7 September (1822)
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5 October 1988
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based on Roman codes; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
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voluntary between 16 and 18 years of age and over 70; compulsory over 18 and under 70 years of age; note - military conscripts do not vote
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chief of state: President Luiz Inacio LULA da Silva (since 1 January 2003); Vice President Jose ALENCAR (since 1 January 2003); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Luiz Inacio LULA da Silva (since 1 January 2003); Vice President Jose ALENCAR (since 1 January 2003)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a single four-year term; election last held 1 October 2006 with runoff 29 October 2006 (next to be held 3 October 2010 and, if necessary, 31 October 2010)
election results: Luiz Inacio LULA da Silva (PT) reelected president - 60.83%, Geraldo ALCKMIN (PSDB) 39.17%
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bicameral National Congress or Congresso Nacional consists of the Federal Senate or Senado Federal (81 seats; 3 members from each state and federal district elected according to the principle of majority to serve eight-year terms; one-third and two-thirds elected every four years, alternately) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara dos Deputados (513 seats; members are elected by proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: Federal Senate - last held 1 October 2006 for one-third of the Senate (next to be held in October 2010 for two-thirds of the Senate); Chamber of Deputies - last held 1 October 2006 (next to be held in October 2010)
election results: Federal Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PFL 6, PSDB 5, PMDB 4, PTB 3, PT 2, PDT 1, PSB 1, PL 1, PPS 1, PRTB 1, PP 1, PCdoB 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PMDB 89, PT 83, PFL 65, PSDB 65, PP 42, PSB 27, PDT 24, PL 23, PTB 22, PPS 21, PCdoB 13, PV 13, PSC 9, other 17; note - as of 1 January 2009, the composition of the entire legislature is as follows: Federal Senate - seats by party - PMDB 21, DEM (formerly PFL) 12, PSDB 13, PT 12, PTB 7, PDT 5, PR 4, PSB 2, PCdoB 1, PRB 1, PP 1, PSC 1, PSOL 1; Chamber of Deputies - seats by party - PMDB 95, PT 79, PSDB 59, DEM (formerly PFL) 53, PR 44, PP 40, PSB 29, PDT 25, PTB 19, PPS 14, PV 14, PCdoB 13, PSC 11, PMN 5, PRB 4, PHS 3, PSOL 3, PTC 1, PTdoB 1
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Supreme Federal Tribunal or STF (11 ministers are appointed for life by the president and confirmed by the Senate); Higher Tribunal of Justice; Regional Federal Tribunals (judges are appointed for life); note - though appointed "for life," judges, like all federal employees, have a mandatory retirement age of 70
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Brazilian Democratic Movement Party or PMDB [Federal Deputy Michel TEMER]; Brazilian Labor Party or PTB [Roberto JEFFERSON]; Brazilian Renewal Labor Party or PRTB [Jose Levy FIDELIX da Cruz]; Brazilian Republican Party or PRB [Vitor Paulo Araujo DOS SANTOS]; Brazilian Social Democracy Party or PSDB [Senator Sergio GUERRA]; Brazilian Socialist Party or PSB [Governor Eduardo Henrique Accioly CAMPOS]; Christian Labor Party or PTC [Daniel TOURINHO]; Communist Party of Brazil or PCdoB [Jose Renato RABELO]; Democratic Labor Party or PDT [Carlos Roberto LUPI]; the Democrats or DEM (formerly Liberal Front Party or PFL) [Federal Deputy Rodrigo MAIA]; Freedom and Socialism Party or PSOL [Heloisa HELENA]; Green Party or PV [Jose Luiz de Franca PENNA]; Humanist Party of Solidarity or PHS [Paulo Roberto MATOS]; Labor Party of Brazil or PTdoB [Luis Henrique de Oliveira RESENDE]; Liberal Front Party or PFL (now known as the Democrats or DEM); National Mobilization Party or PMN [Oscar Noronha FILHO]; Party of the Republic or PR [Sergio TAMER]; Popular Socialist Party or PPS [Federal Deputy Fernando CORUJA]; Progressive Party or PP [Francisco DORNELLES]; Social Christian Party or PSC [Vitor Jorge Abdala NOSSEIS]; Workers' Party or PT [Ricardo Jose Ribeiro BERZOINI]
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Landless Workers' Movement or MST
other: labor unions and federations; large farmers' associations; religious groups including evangelical Christian churches and the Catholic Church
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AfDB (nonregional member), BIS, CAN (associate), CPLP, FAO, G-15, G-20, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur, MIGA, MINURCAT, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, NAM (observer), NSG, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, SICA (observer), UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNITAR, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNMIT, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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chief of mission: Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar PATRIOTA
chancery: 3006 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 238-2805
FAX: [1] (202) 238-2827
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco
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chief of mission: Ambassador Clifford M. SOBEL
embassy: Avenida das Nacoes, Quadra 801, Lote 3, Distrito Federal Cep 70403-900, Brasilia
mailing address: Unit 3500, APO AA 34030
telephone: [55] (61) 3312-7000
FAX: [55] (61) 3225-9136
consulate(s) general: Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo
consulate(s): Recife
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green with a large yellow diamond in the center bearing a blue celestial globe with 27 white five-pointed stars (one for each state and the Federal District) arranged in the same pattern as the night sky over Brazil; the globe has a white equatorial band with the motto ORDEM E PROGRESSO (Order and Progress)
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Economy ::Brazil
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Characterized by large and well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors, Brazil's economy outweighs that of all other South American countries and Brazil is expanding its presence in world markets. From 2003 to 2007, Brazil ran record trade surpluses and recorded its first current account surpluses since 1992. Productivity gains coupled with high commodity prices contributed to the surge in exports. Brazil improved its debt profile in 2006 by shifting its debt burden toward real denominated and domestically held instruments. LULA da Silva restated his commitment to fiscal responsibility by maintaining the country's primary surplus during the 2006 election. Following his second inauguration in October of that year, LULA da Silva announced a package of further economic reforms to reduce taxes and increase investment in infrastructure. Brazil's debt achieved investment grade status early in 2008, but the government's attempt to achieve strong growth while reducing the debt burden created inflationary pressures. For most of 2008, the Central Bank embarked on a restrictive monetary policy to stem these pressures. Since the onset of the global financial crisis in September, Brazil's currency and its stock market - Bovespa - have significantly lost value, -41% for Bovespa for the year ending 30 December 2008. Brazil incurred another current account deficit in 2008, as world demand and prices for commodities dropped in the second-half of the year.
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$1.993 trillion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
$1.896 trillion (2007 est.)
$1.794 trillion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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$1.573 trillion (2008 est.)
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5.1% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
5.7% (2007 est.)
4% (2006 est.)
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$10,200 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
$9,800 (2007 est.)
$9,400 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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agriculture: 6.7%
industry: 28%
services: 65.3% (2008 est.)
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93.65 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
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agriculture: 20%
industry: 14%
services: 66% (2003 est.)
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7.9% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 109
9.3% (2007 est.)
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31% (2005)
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lowest 10%: 1.1%
highest 10%: 43% (2007)
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56.7 (2005)
country comparison to the world: 10
60.7 (1998)
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19% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123
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revenues: NA
expenditures: NA
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36.9% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 63
52% of GDP (2004 est.)
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5.7% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 93
3.6% (2007 est.)
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20.48% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 9
17.85% (31 December 2007)
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NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 4
43.72% (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 14
$131.1 billion (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 6
$792.8 billion (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 12
$1.377 trillion (31 December 2007)
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$589.4 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 12
$1.37 trillion (31 December 2007)
$711.1 billion (31 December 2006)
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coffee, soybeans, wheat, rice, corn, sugarcane, cocoa, citrus; beef
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textiles, shoes, chemicals, cement, lumber, iron ore, tin, steel, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, other machinery and equipment
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4.3% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62
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438.8 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
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404.3 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
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2.034 billion kWh (2007 est.)
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42.06 billion kWh; note - supplied by Paraguay (2008 est.)
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2.422 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13
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2.52 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
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570,100 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
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632,900 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 21
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12.62 billion bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 15
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12.62 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39
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23.65 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
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0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 200
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11.03 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 21
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365 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
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$-28.19 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 179
$1.551 billion (2007 est.)
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$197.9 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23
$160.6 billion (2007 est.)
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transport equipment, iron ore, soybeans, footwear, coffee, autos
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US 14.6%, China 11.5%, Argentina 8.6%, Netherlands 4.9%, Germany 4.5% (2008)
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$173.1 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24
$120.6 billion (2007 est.)
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machinery, electrical and transport equipment, chemical products, oil, automotive parts, electronics
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US 14.9%, China 11.6%, Argentina 7.9%, Germany 7% (2008)
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$193.8 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
$180.3 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
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$262.9 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 27
$240.5 billion (31 December 2007)
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$294 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 15
$248.9 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
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$127.5 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23
$107.1 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
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reals (BRL) per US dollar - 1.8644 (2008 est.), 1.85 (2007 est.), 2.1761 (2006), 2.4344 (2005), 2.9251 (2004)
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Communications ::Brazil
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41.141 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 6
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150.641 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 5
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general assessment: good working system; fixed-line connections have remained relatively stable in recent years and stand at about 20 per 100 persons; less expensive mobile cellular technology is a major driver in expanding telephone service to the low-income segment of the population with mobile-cellular telephone density reaching 80 per 100 persons
domestic: extensive microwave radio relay system and a domestic satellite system with 64 earth stations; mobile-cellular usage has more than tripled in the past 5 years
international: country code - 55; landing point for a number of submarine cables, including Atlantis 2, that provide direct links to South and Central America, the Caribbean, the US, Africa, and Europe; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region east), connected by microwave relay system to Mercosur Brazilsat B3 satellite earth station (2008)
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AM 1,365, FM 296, shortwave 161 (of which 91 are collocated with AM stations) (1999)
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138 (1997)
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.br
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15.929 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 5
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64.948 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 5
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Transportation ::Brazil
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4,000 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 2
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total: 721
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 27
1,524 to 2,437 m: 171
914 to 1,523 m: 460
under 914 m: 56 (2009)
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total: 3,279
1,524 to 2,437 m: 87
914 to 1,523 m: 1,547
under 914 m: 1,645 (2009)
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13 (2009)
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condensate/gas 62 km; gas 9,892 km; liquid petroleum gas 353 km; oil 4,517 km; refined products 4,465 km (2008)
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total: 28,857 km
country comparison to the world: 10
broad gauge: 5,709 km 1.600-m gauge (459 km electrified)
standard gauge: 194 km 1.440-m gauge
narrow gauge: 22,954 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)
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total: 1,751,868 km
country comparison to the world: 4
paved: 96,353 km
unpaved: 1,655,515 km (2004)
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50,000 km (most in areas remote from industry and population) (2008)
country comparison to the world: 3
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total: 136
country comparison to the world: 45
by type: bulk carrier 19, cargo 22, carrier 1, chemical tanker 7, container 11, liquefied gas 12, passenger/cargo 12, petroleum tanker 45, roll on/roll off 7
foreign-owned: 25 (Chile 1, Denmark 2, Germany 6, Greece 1, Mexico 1, Norway 5, Spain 9)
registered in other countries: 8 (Argentina 1, Bahamas 2, Ghana 1, Liberia 3, Marshall Islands 1) (2008)
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Guaiba, Ilha Grande, Paranagua, Rio Grande, Santos, Sao Sebastiao, Tubarao
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the International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial and offshore waters in the Atlantic Ocean as a significant risk for piracy and armed robbery against ships; numerous commercial vessels have been attacked and hijacked both at anchor and while underway; crews have been robbed and stores or cargoes stolen
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Military ::Brazil
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Brazilian Army (Exercito Brasileiro, EB), Brazilian Navy (Marinha do Brasil (MB), includes Naval Air and Marine Corps (Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais)), Brazilian Air Force (Forca Aerea Brasileira, FAB) (2009)
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21-45 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 9 to 12 months; 17-45 years of age for voluntary service; an increasing percentage of the ranks are "long-service" volunteer professionals; women were allowed to serve in the armed forces beginning in early 1980s when the Brazilian Army became the first army in South America to accept women into career ranks; women serve in Navy and Air Force only in Women's Reserve Corps (2001)
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males age 16-49: 52,449,957
females age 16-49: 52,375,921 (2008 est.)
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males age 16-49: 38,043,555
females age 16-49: 44,267,520 (2009 est.)
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male: 1,690,031
female: 1,630,851 (2009 est.)
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2.6% of GDP (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62
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Transnational Issues ::Brazil
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unruly region at convergence of Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay borders is locus of money laundering, smuggling, arms and illegal narcotics trafficking, and fundraising for extremist organizations; uncontested boundary dispute with Uruguay over Isla Brasilera at the confluence of the Quarai/Cuareim and Invernada rivers, that form a tripoint with Argentina; the Itaipu Dam reservoir covers over a once contested section of Brazil-Paraguay boundary west of Guaira Falls on the Rio Parana; an accord placed the long-disputed Isla Suarez/Ilha de Guajara-Mirim, a fluvial island on the Rio Mamore, under Bolivian administration in 1958, but sovereignty remains in dispute
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second-largest consumer of cocaine in the world; illicit producer of cannabis; trace amounts of coca cultivation in the Amazon region, used for domestic consumption; government has a large-scale eradication program to control cannabis; important transshipment country for Bolivian, Colombian, and Peruvian cocaine headed for Europe; also used by traffickers as a way station for narcotics air transshipments between Peru and Colombia; upsurge in drug-related violence and weapons smuggling; important market for Colombian, Bolivian, and Peruvian cocaine; illicit narcotics proceeds are often laundered through the financial system; significant illicit financial activity in the Tri-Border Area (2008)
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The online Factbook is updated bi-weekly. ISSN 1553-8133
For additional information on government leaders in selected foreign countries, go to World Leaders.