In the 1990s Brazil engaged in deep liberalisation policies and attempted to enlarge its integration with international markets by intensifying its opening up to trade and subjecting its domestic industries to foreign competition. The economy gained access to international capital markets by a combination of a wide spectrum of macroeconomic policies, the liberalisation of its capital account and debt restructuring through the Brady Plan. In the first half of the decade — following agreements between the domestic authorities and international creditors regarding the country’s foreign debt in the late 1980s — there was a considerable reduction in import tariffs that was coupled with a significant increase in foreign capital inflows.1 The latter enabled the economy to reduce a large part of its current account deficit. The current and capital account liberalisation were achieved rapidly, and by the second half of the 1990s the economy was much more open to the international product and financial markets. The main challenge faced by the authorities, dating to the 1980s, was soaring inflation, and the opening up of the economy (and especially finance) was, as a consequence, geared towards the state’s anti-inflationary policy.
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