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France's Sarkozy wins trade deal in Brazil, support at home

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Nicolas Sarkozy, the leader of the world’s fifth largest economy, is off reviewing troops on national day in Brasilia. He’s the only head of state at Brazil's annual independence party, and that may help win a victory for France's Dassault Aviation. The company is currently negotiating a $2.2 billion deal for 36 French Rafale fighter jets.

Given that the Rafale has not sold abroad, a deal is important – since Brazil is looking to buy 100 planes in a rehab of its air force.

Mr. Sarkozy – ever-present, controversial, voluble – continues to climb in French approval ratings. Summer’s over, and he’s at 45-47 percent job approval rating, up from as low as 32 percent last year.

The French president may be getting sympathy after a brief July collapse while jogging, or the French may be in a good mood after their epic August exodus from the city. But the vigorous leader with the fashion-model spouse, able to constantly reinvent himself a la Bill Clinton, has been out of the low 30s for a long time. That’s saying something: The French public is not an easy crowd.

Sarkozy will also return to Paris Tuesday with an $8.7 billion Brazil deal for helicopters and the hull of a nuclear sub agreed to in December, and now approved.

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