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Fighting the Good Fight

Dec 8, 2003

Brazil’s trade and industry minister has been in the job barely a year and already has something to show for his time in government. But Luiz Furlan still has much to do before the country emerges as a major trading nation.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva made some surprising choices when he assembled his cabinet a year ago. One of his more interesting decisions was to pick Luiz Furlan, a millionaire São Paulo businessman, to head the amorphous development, industry and trade ministry. Furlan, 56, the boss of Sadia, Brazil’s largest poultry company and a big exporter, hardly seemed the right man to take charge of a slow-moving bureaucracy in Brasília. He is a typical Paulistabusinessman - a blunt, no-nonsense kind of man used to making decisions quickly and having them carried out immediately.

Neither did a man born to great wealth - Furlan’s grandfather founded Sadia 50 years ago - seem a natural choice for a government led by the left-wing Workers Party. Furlan says, “I did not have any acquaintance with President Lula and was not affiliated with any political party. I am fresh to...

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