By Umar Farooq
WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he will designate Brazil as a major non-NATO ally.
“I am making this designation in recognition of the Government of Brazil’s recent commitments to increase defense cooperation with the United States, and in recognition of our own national interest in deepening our defense coordination with Brazil,” Trump said in a statement to Congress.
In order to grant major non-NATO ally status to a country, Trump has to wait 30 days after notifying Congress of the intended designation.
The benefits of the designation include collaboration on the development of defense technologies, special access to military equipment financing, privileged access to the U.S. defense industry and increased joint military exchanges, exercises and training.
Seventeen other countries hold the status of major non-NATO ally including Israel, Japan and South Korea.
Trump has previously said the United States is looking “very strongly” at granting Brazil some NATO privileges, noting his administration is “very inclined to do that”.
“We are going to look at that very, very strongly in terms of whether it’s NATO or something having to do with the alliance,” the president said in March.
Should Brazil ever clear the lengthy process of ascension, it would become the first Latin American nation to join NATO. All 29 of NATO’s member states are in North America and Europe.
Trump has long been a critic of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, calling on other member states to shoulder more of its defense burden by increasing military spending.