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Bolsonaro says he will stop using 'French' Bic pens after Macron criticism

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By Emma Beswick  with AFP
Bolsonaro says he will stop using 'French' Bic pens after Macron criticism
Copyright  REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has said he will stop using "French" pens from the brand Bic in light of criticism from President Emmanuel Macron concerning the Amazon wildfires.

The far-right leader has previously been pictured brandishing low-cost ballpoint pens from the brand when signing official documents as a symbol of his modest presidential lifestyle in comparison to that of his predecessors.

"A Compactor pen (a Brazilian brand), instead of Bic, will do the job," Bolsonaro said on Friday.

He had previously made remarks about the brand in a Facebook live a day earlier when he said he'd no longer use Bic "because it is French".

While Société Bic is based in Clichy, France, most of the Bic ballpoint pens sold in Brazil are made in the company's factory in the Brazilian city of Manaus in the Amazon, a spokesperson told AFP.

The group employs around 1,000 people at its Manaus and Rio de Janeiro sites.

Bic did not want to comment on Jair Bolsonaro's statements but said it was "flattered" to be recognised as a "democratic brand", according to AFP.

Macron last week insisted that the raging wildfires ravaging the Amazon rainforest in Brazil be put on the agenda to be discussed by members of the Group of Seven (G7) in Biarritz.

"Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest - the lungs which produce 20% of our planet’s oxygen - is on fire. It is an international crisis. Members of the G7 Summit, let's discuss this emergency first order in two days! #ActForTheAmazon," the president tweeted on Thursday, a few days before the start of the G7 summit in Biarritz.

Read more: 'Our house is burning': Macron urges G7 leaders to discuss Amazon fire

Bolsonaro, who experienced wide international criticism for his perceived slow and insufficient reaction to the blazes, hit back at Macron on Twitter saying that the French president shouldn't meddle in Brazil's affairs.

He also accused Macron of using a "sensationalist tone" and "fake photos" when referring to the Amazon fires.

Brazil's National Institute for Space Research reported the number of wildfires in the country has risen 84% compared to last year.