The leaders also will compare notes on two international forums on their schedules next month, a gathering of the Group of 20 nations and the Summit of the Americas, said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.
Brazil has become a major U.S. trading partner, and its cautious economic policies have helped it weather the global economic crisis better than almost all other major economies. South America's largest country, Brazil also has huge new sources of offshore oil and abundant ethanol, which could give it a key role in helping the U.S. wean itself off Venezuelan crude and shift to cleaner sources of energy.
Silva, who runs the world's fifth-most-populous nation and ninth-largest economy, has close ties with leaders across the political spectrum. He's been asked to lobby Obama for free trade on behalf of conservatives in Colombia and for dropping the U.S. embargo against communist Cuba.
Even Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has had a prickly relationship with the U.S., has asked his Brazilian counterpart to put in some good words for him.
"I'm going to ask that the U.S. take a different view of Latin America," Silva said before leaving his country. "We're a democratic, peaceful continent, and the U.S. has to look at the region in a productive, developmental way, and not just think about drug trafficking or organized crime."
After the global financial crisis, their next big discussion is likely to be about energy
- biofuels and oil.
The world's largest exporter of ethanol, Brazil has seen little traction on its demand that the U.S. lift a 53-cent-per-gallon import tariff on the gasoline alternative. But in the past two years, Brazil has made offshore oil discoveries of some 80 billion barrels, and the find could help turn it into a major crude exporter and become a bargaining chip of sorts with the U.S.
Another issue that has sparked great interest in the two countries is the case of David Goldman, a Tinton Falls, N.J., man who is trying to bring his 8-year-old son back from Brazil. The boy was taken there in 2004 by his mother, who died several years later while giving birth to another child. She had divorced Goldman and married an attorney from Rio de Janeiro. Both children are being raised by the lawyer's family.