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    Brazil’s Workers Party guarantees open dialogue with businessmen if Lula wins

    By Lisandra Paraguassu

    BRASILIA (Reuters) - A dinner between Brazil's Workers Party (PT) leader Gleisi Hoffmann and 30 businessmen on Monday ended with two pieces of information well-received by the latter: The party will work with central bank chief Roberto Campos Neto and there is no thought of controlling fuel prices if former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva wins the October election.

    The event, hosted by think tank Esfera Brasil, brought together Hoffmann and heavyweights such as retail tycoon Abilio Diniz and Guararapes Chairman Flavio Rocha, who discussed economic policies to be adopted by a potential new Lula administration.

    According to sources, Hoffmann assured them the party does not intend to try to remove Campos Neto from office. She made it clear the PT will respect his mandate and does not wish to change the law that made the central bank independent.

    "It was a conversation in an absolutely cordial tone," one of the sources told Reuters. "Evidently they (businessmen) prefer a more liberal government, but they felt comfortable with the fact that Campos Neto would stay and that Lula is one for dialogue - that he is and will keep talking to businessmen."

    If elected, Lula intends to revise the 2017 labor reform, change the country's spending cap and put an end to Petrobras' parity policy for fuel prices, as well as change the way dividends from the state-run oil firm are invested.

    However, Hoffmann's assurance that there is no talk of controlling prices calmed at least some of the doubts of those attending the dinner.

    "There is a willingness for dialogue, this was very clear," said a source. "Of course their (businessmen's) agenda is to maintain the labor reform, to deepen it, but there is a willingness for dialogue.

    (Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; Writing by Peter Frontini; Editing by Sandra Maler)





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