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The EU has accused Brazil of protectionism in the past.

But leaders tried to put those differences to one side at a joint trade summit in Brasilia.

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council president Herman Van Rompuy both attended the event.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said her country’s ties with Brussels were key to economic growth.

“What is very relevant is the fact that in Brazil there are a great number of European companies that help to sustain growth in our country and that create jobs,” she said.

Brazil has hiked import tariffs on a number of products, including cars and pharmaceuticals.

It argues cheap money created by foreign central banks has flowed into the country, pushing up the real and crippling its exports.

The latest data which is available shows Brazil sells 20 percent of its exports to the European Union.

The EU, in turn, wants to boost the volume of goods sold to Brazil as a means of creating jobs and growth in Europe.

The IMF predicts the country’s economy will grow by 3.5 percent this year and four percent next year.

The European Commission has been negotiating a free trade deal with the Mercosur trading bloc, of which Brazil is a member, for the past twelve years.

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