Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro. Picture: REUTERS/ADRIANO MACHADO
Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro. Picture: REUTERS/ADRIANO MACHADO

Rio de Janeiro/Brasília — President Jair Bolsonaro has criticised Ford’s decision to pull out of Brazil, alleging the company was seeking tax breaks and subsidies to compete with other carmakers.

“People complained about the Ford factories,” Bolsonaro told supporters outside his official residence in Brasília on Wednesday. “I’m sorry, but I will no longer keep spending your money to support their factories.”

Earlier this week, Ford Motor announced it would cease its manufacturing operations after a century in Brazil, shuttering three plants and terminating about 5,000 jobs by year-end as part of a global restructuring.

It was a symbolic blow to the Bolsonaro administration, which has pledged to boost South America’s largest economy through business-friendly policies and austerity measures.

The company cited an “unfavourable economic environment and the additional burden of the pandemic” in its announcement of the restructuring on Monday. It didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment on Bolsonaro’s remarks.

The Brazilian president has since accused Ford of trying to obtain additional subsidies to keep its Brazilian operations afloat. He said on Tuesday that the company had received nearly 20-billion reais ($3.77bn) in assistance in recent years, without providing further details.

“The factory closed due to competition, there is no more subsidy from us,” Bolsonaro said on Wednesday.


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