Posts Tagged ‘Brazil’

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U.S.-Brazil Commercial Dialogue: Fostering Increased Bilateral Trade

August 30, 2012

Maria Cameron is an International Trade Specialist and the Brazil desk officer within the International Trade Administration.

The United States and Brazil have a strong bilateral trade relationship. With a population of nearly 195 million and a rapidly growing middle class, Brazil stands out in the global marketplace for the tremendous opportunities it offers U.S. companies.

Total bilateral trade in 2011 amounted to more than $75 billion, more than twice the amount of our trade in 2000 at $29.2 billion. More impressive is the fact that Brazil’s GDP, which stood at $2.17 trillion in 2010, has increased by more than 75 percent in the last 10 years, despite one of the worst global economic downturns in history.

The 9th U.S.-Brazil Commercial Dialogue held in Brasilia August 30, 2012

The 9th U.S.-Brazil Commercial Dialogue held in Brasilia August 30, 2012 (Photo Commerce)

Brazil is expected to become the world’s fifth largest economy in the future and is a priority market for U.S. products and services exporters. Yet the fact remains —given the size of both of our economies and our closeness in culture and geography —our bilateral trade should be much greater.

Greater bilateral trade will be good for both of our economies, fostering economic growth, job creation and improved quality of life in both countries.

The U.S.-Brazil Commercial Dialogue seeks to expand our trade by improving mutual understanding and use this understanding to jointly address the barriers that are preventing our bilateral trade from reaching its potential.

Unlike many formal negotiations, Commercial Dialogue discussions focus on mutually beneficial solutions to commercial problems that interfere with trade.

This week, the United States and Brazil celebrated the 9th formal gathering of the U.S.-Brazil Commercial Dialogue, led by Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez and his Brazilian counterpart Secretary for Foreign Trade Tatiana Prazeres. The agenda reflects a focus on finding solutions to real world problems that inhibit the growth of bilateral trade.

Some of the topics discussed include:

  • Biofuel measurement standards: to ensure that bioethanol purchased from Brazil has the same quality as the bioethanol in the United States. Biofuels are finding expanded utilization in ground transportation systems, and more recently in aviation systems.
  • Patent process applications: to process application faster and more efficiently – officials shared strategies, including on workforce development issues such as telework policies.
  • Addressing health and safety issues: customs officials with health met with safety regulators to explore how to move goods more quickly across the borders while continuing to protect the health and safety of our citizens.
  • Education: increasing the number of Brazilian students studying in the United States through Brazil’s Science without Borders Program. Immediately following these meetings, Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez will lead, in Brazil the largest U.S. educational trade mission ever held to Brazil.
  • Supply chain: discuss ways to enhance global supply chains as a means to improved economic competitiveness and enhanced trade between the U.S. and Brazil.
  • Improving green business: recognizing a common objective to encourage greener and more efficient business practices, discussions on how to implement policies in a way that fosters opportunities rather than erects barriers.
  • U.S.-Brazil Strategic Energy Dialogue: discussions surrounding how to support and encourage a private sector role in the energy dialogue.

The real strength of the Dialogue is in the ongoing collaborative relationship that has grown between the United States and Brazil trade ministries. This relationship has fostered more creative problem solving and cooperation on mutual objectives with the goal of enabling our businesses to grow and thrive.

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A Gold Key Unlocks Global Growth for Cleveland Company

June 22, 2012

Doug Barry is a Senior International Trade Specialist in the Trade Information Center, U.S. Commercial Service within the International Trade Administration.

A record number of companies were recognized for their accomplishments in exporting at a White House ceremony this past May. Cleveland-based Jet Incorporated was represented by its chief executive officer Ron Swinko, who received the Presidential “E” Award. Swinko spoke with Doug Barry of the Trade Information Center, U.S. Commercial Service.

Barry: Can you tell us how the company started and what it does?

Swinko: The company was founded in 1955. The basic equipment the company designed at that time was to replace septic tanks with advanced technology, to treat the water using a smaller system and to allow the water to be discharged. Over the years, we expanded into commercial systems which are typically called small package plants for decentralized locations like small villages, hotels, resorts. That is the basis for our international growth as well.

Jet’s International Sales Manager, Gary Waite, trains the distributor and local operators on a new wastewater treatment plant in Kenya. (Photo Jet, Inc.)

Barry: For the non-scientists, can you give us a quick overview of how things work?

Swinko: It’s biological wastewater treatment. So anything that comes from either the sinks or the sanitary systems in a home or in a building that water enters into the system, into a tank where the solids are digested by aerobic bacteria. And part of our system is designed to inject air that promotes the growth of that aerobic bacteria.

Barry: Tell us about the international part of your business. How did that start and what was the biggest challenge in getting going?

Swinko: It started with inquiries because of the technology that was developed. The founder, David MacLaren, was certainly an innovator. And he was also very interested in expanding the technology internationally. He obtained a series of patents in several countries over the years. The most significant challenge was servicing our international distributors. And by servicing that means having enough inventory to meet their demands for immediate shipment, understanding what the export requirements are and ultimately providing solid responsive technical support for systems that have been installed globally.

Barry: You do a lot of work in developing countries. Has that been a challenge?

Swinko: Educating customers is a big challenge. Developing countries may be focused on environmental sustainability, even to a greater extent than we are here in the U.S., because of the scarcity of water. But they may not necessarily understand the benefit of regulation or the type of equipment that’s available. Over the last couple of years, one of our initiatives has been to educate regulators in, for example, the Cayman Islands and in Kenya. We hosted a seminar on wastewater management for the architects association of Kenya into at least provide some education about  how wastewater treatment systems can generate water for reuse and how that can be incorporated into sustainable projects for apartment buildings and resorts.

Barry: Who did you turn to in order to find a solution to that challenge?

Swinko: We’ve used the U.S. Commercial Service quite extensively. They have a wonderful service called the Gold Key, and because our business relies on increasing the number of distributors, we look for partners in developing countries who will act as distributors and who are technically capable either because they’re currently in the water purification business or because they’re in the construction business. We’ve used this service to expand into Southeast Asia and into South America. I just recently returned from a trade mission to Brazil that included four Gold Key meetings with potential distributors in Sao Paolo.

Barry: When you say Gold Key, do you provide the gold and they provide the key?

Swinko: It’s more mutual than that. But truthfully, the U.S. Commercial Service spends a great deal of time learning about our business, learning about and understanding our company and the requirements for distributors in the location, and then they evaluate potential distributor partners and partner companies in that area. They establish the Gold Key meetings after they’ve reviewed the capabilities and what our requirements are. Finally they look for a match, a good match I would say maybe in terms of company personality as well as technical expertise.

Barry: Let’s talk about the matches in Brazil. It would have been hard for you to fly in unannounced to Rio and Sao Paolo and open a phonebook. So they had a solution for that. But how did it work out on the ground?  Are you confident that good things will come of those meetings?

Swinko: Very confident. Part of the service includes an interpreter. So if there are any language barriers, particularly with technical terms or equipment, the interpreters are very capable. But for the most part they also look for companies that have good language skills in terms of an understanding of English. We’re quite confident that this was an excellent trip for us. And we’ve had more detailed discussions with two of the companies and we’ve already had three quotes for systems requested.

Barry: This was a U.S. Commerce Department trade mission?

Swinko: Yes. The trade mission itself was a combined effort by the Commerce Department with the Brazil- U.S. Business Council and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It was particularly impressive in terms of the level of government officials that we met with and the management level of the potential customers or clients that we met. We received very detailed technical presentations on their environmental sustainability programs – and certainly from our perspective the mission was well worth the participation and the trip.

Barry: Give us a snapshot of the company and its international growth.

Swinko: We have about 30 employees. All of our manufacturing is done in our Cleveland, Ohio, location. The business in the U.S. is highly dependent on residential construction. So during the last several years, of course, the housing industry has struggled which would be putting it mildly. In fact, it’s been significantly challenged, and while we have done reasonably well domestically, internationally the expansion has allowed us to actually increase the number of employees and add an additional engineer so that we could continue to support the international business.

Barry: What percentage of total revenues is international?

Swinko: International is about 25 percent with some nice year-over-year growth in the 30-plus percent range.

Barry: Where do you see it going in the future?

Swinko: I would say certainly maintaining those particular increases especially because of the markets where we have a significant presence, like Africa, and as well as South American and Latin American countries.

Barry: Are China and India on the horizon?

Swinko: China, no – partly because of intellectual property concerns but also because we have such strong presence in these other developing countries where we haven’t fully leveraged the market.

Barry: Explain the decision to do the manufacturing in the United States?

Swinko: The foundation of the company was in Cleveland. So there is a strong commitment to manufacturing and assembling as much as we can in the U.S. Quite honestly, there are some very distinct challenges with that because certain manufacturing processes and products are not available in the U.S. or if they are, they’re available at a high price compared to what you can purchase overseas. We do also try to work in Mexico to keep the supply chain as short as we can.

Barry: Is there a value in “Made in America” with your international customers?

Swinko: Without a doubt, especially in the environmental technologies equipment market. They greatly respect the regulation that we’ve had over the years that’s improved our air and water. And made in America or imported from America in many of these countries has a very strong, positive connotation to the equipment.

Barry: Can it make up for the premium pricing that is required?

Swinko: In many cases it can. In particular they do also evaluate whether and how many of your components may have been made outside of the U.S.

Barry: Would you say that you are a better company as the result of your international experience?

Swinko: I would say we’re certainly a better company, and we’re a better company because each of those countries, while they can use the basic equipment, do require some modification, and do require particular levels of service. So it’s really driven some of our innovation of the equipment systems.

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International Visitors to the U.S. Jumped 9 Percent in February 2012

April 27, 2012

Claudia Wolfe is an Economist in the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) within the International Trade Administration where she focuses on international visitation to the United States.

As Pow Wow winds down this week, it’s great news that international visitation to the U.S. is up this year over last year.

The number of international visitors to the United States rose 9 percent in February from a year ago, after record arrivals in 2011 and an increase in visits in January 2012.

A total 4.2 million international visitors came to the U.S., with the largest number from nearby Canada and Mexico in February of this year.

Of the top 10 nations sending visitors to the U.S., two countries posted double-digit growth: Brazil and China. Brazil is up more than 27 percent in 2012 over last year with 294,052 arriving in the U.S. and visitors from China so far in 2012 total 227,856, up 40 percent over last year.

Miami, New York’s JFK and Los Angeles LAX airports were the three busiest ports of entry for international travelers in February.

For more information, visit OTTI’s monthly visitation page

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Brazil Celebrates its Independence

September 20, 2011

Lorrie Fussell is the Brazil Desk Officer in the Market Access and Compliance division of the International Trade Administration.

Earlier this month, Brazil celebrated its Independence Day and it is noteworthy to congratulate Brazil on how far it has progressed. Not only did Brazil celebrate its Declaration of Independence from Portugal, dating back to 7 September 1822, but it can also be said that Brazil has gained its independence from the outdated image as the “country of the future”.  Brazil has arrived!

With close to 195 million inhabitants and a rapidly growing middle class, Brazil stands out in the global marketplace for the tremendous opportunities it offers U.S. companies.  Total bilateral trade in 2010 amounted to $59.4 billion, over twice the amount of our trade in 2000 at $29.2 billion.  More impressive is the fact that Brazil’s GDP, which stood at $2.17 trillion in 2010, has increased by more than 75 percent in the last 10 years, despite one of the worst global economic downturns in history.  (Source: International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database).

Presidents Obama and Rousseff address the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum at the last meeting held March 19, 2011 in Brazil.

Presidents Obama and Rousseff address the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum at the last meeting held March 19, 2011 in Brazil.

The United States has a long-standing and close relationship with Brazil. President Barack Obama solidified the bond this past March during his trip to Brazil when he and President Rousseff agreed to enhance cooperation on trade, investment, climate, environment, and sustainable development.  We see that enthusiasm for Brazil mirrored by U.S. companies interested in doing business in the market. Last month, Nicole Lamb-Hale, Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services at the International Trade Administration, accompanied the Export Green Trade Mission to Brazil.  Commerce Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez will inaugurate the first ever U.S. Pavilion at the October 3-4 Off Shore Technology Conference and Trade Show in Rio de Janeiro.  More than 175 American companies will be participating in this trade show, which is supported by the Department of Commerce and highlights the innovation and leadership of U.S. companies in offshore energy development.

Recognizing that the United States and Brazil are linked both economically and commercially, in 2007 the two governments launched the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum as a means to improve our trading partnership.  The U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum is a public-private partnership between the United Sates and Brazilian Governments which brings together Chief Executive Officers from both countries.  Ten to twelve CEOs from each country develop joint recommendations for the two governments with the goal of increasing bilateral trade and investment for both sides.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Security Council, U.S. co-chairs of the CEO Forum, announced the names of the next U.S. Section to the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum.  These CEOs were appointed to the Forum in order to work with their Brazilian colleagues to develop joint recommendations for the governments to improve international trade and economic growth.  The CEO Forum provides important joint recommendations from the U.S. and Brazilian private sector at a time when both the United States and Brazilian Governments are redefining their economic partnership.

Working together, the United States and Brazil have made progress on a number of the areas identified by the CEO Forum as a priority.

  • Taking into consideration  the joint recommendation made by the CEOs, the U.S. Trade Representative and the Brazilian Foreign Ministry signed the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation (ATEC) this past March. The ATEC will create a framework for deepening our cooperation on trade issues, such as intellectual property rights, trade facilitation, and technical barriers to trade.  The first meeting under the ATEC is expected later this year.
  • In October 2007, at the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum, the CEOs made visa reform a top priority.  Thanks to the efforts of the group, the United States and the Brazilian Governments extended the visa validity for business and tourist visas from five to ten years, and the issuance of the joint B1/B2 business/tourist visas became a matter of practice in both countries as of May 2010.  In addition, the United States Government has made significant efforts in reducing the visa backlog.  Although visa reform has helped make immeasurable strides in improving travel between our two countries, the CEOs have now asked that the United States consider including Brazil in the Visa Waiver Program
  • In response to the joint recommendation of the CEO Forum to provide greater cooperation between our two governments on energy issues, the United States and Brazilian Governments held the first high-level energy dialogue last month.  This Strategic Energy Dialogue will promote and strengthen partnerships between the governments.  We look forward to working with our Brazilian colleagues as we look for ways to use the SED to strengthen U.S.–Brazil commercial ties in the energy sector.
  • The CEOs have also been instrumental in recommending improved civil aviation between our countries.  After years of stalled negotiations, an Open Skies Agreement was signed this past March which allows for significant expansion of services between our countries.  Additionally, our governments are now looking to create an aviation cooperation program that would work in partnership with the private sector.

Outstanding recommendations of the Forum still remain, the governments still have their work cut out for them, but we are excited to see what new ideas and recommendations the CEOs will submit to our governments as we move forward.  The continued drive to improve our business relationship is, in the end what will make our partnership a success.

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Seeking CEOs to Participate in the Next U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum

March 24, 2011

 

 

 

As part of President Obama’s official delegation to Brasilia, Brazil March 18-19, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke co-chaired the sixth meeting of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum.  Key issues discussed at this meeting included furthering bilateral and economic ties at the completion of a U.S.-Brazil Bilateral Tax Treaty, clean energy cooperation and renewable technologies, investment in education, and sustainable infrastructure. In addition, the Forum was pleased to announce successful action on prior recommendations including the completion of a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, signing of an Open Skies MOU and extension of business and tourist visas from five to ten years.

Secretary Locke (far right) shares a laugh with other senior government officials attending the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum

Secretary Locke (far right) shares a laugh with other senior government officials attending the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum

We are now accepting applications for the 2011-2013 term of the Forum. The 10 U.S. CEOs serve two-year terms, and are selected from respondents to a joint Commerce-White House Federal Register notice for applicants to the U.S. section of the Forum. Companies interested in participating in the Forum should view the Federal Register notice at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2011/2011-5073.htm for information on how to apply.

The Forum, made up of 20 CEOs from the United States and Brazil, meets twice a year to make recommendations to the two governments on ways to strengthen the U.S.-Brazil economic relationship.  Since its inception in 2007, the Forum’s recommendations have advanced discussions between the United States and Brazilian governments on important issues such as visa reform, customs procedures, education, energy, trade facilitation, and infrastructure.

With a potential market of 195 million consumers, and per capita incomes forecasted to grow at an average rate of six percent during the next several years, Brazil offers tremendous opportunities to U.S. exporters of goods and services.

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ACF, Green Technology Exports, Brazil and a Two-Year Partnership

November 15, 2010

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Cora Dickson is a Senior International Trade Specialist with the International Trade Administration working in the Office of Energy and Environmental Industries

With three breakout sessions on “green technologies” over the next two days, the Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) is the perfect setting to officially launch a two-year Market Development Cooperation Program (MDCP) award, “Export Green: Growing SME Exports to Brazil.”

Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez (center) presents MDCP award at the Americas Competitiveness Forum in Atlanta on November 14.

Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez (center) presents MDCP award at the Americas Competitiveness Forum in Atlanta on November 14.

Like all MDCPs, this will result in a close working partnership between the cooperator, in this case the National Chamber Foundation, and the International Trade Administration (ITA).  On average, for every dollar that ITA invests in MDCP awards generates $125 in exports; awards are granted only to non-profit groups.  As an industry expert on the staff of the Office and Energy and Environmental Industries, my role will be to coordinate ITA and U.S. government resources and to liaise with the cooperator.

Yesterday during an intimate meet-and-greet for U.S. ACF attendees, Under Secretary Sánchez and Assistant Secretary Camuñez congratulated the Chamber Foundation and pledged ITA support for the exciting array of activities being planned – including trade missions, business forums, webinars, and Brazilian buying missions to green tech trade shows in the United States.  Steven Bipes, Executive Director, Brazil-U.S. Business Council, and Kathleen McInerney, Manager, Trade Roots were both on hand to receive the award and talk about the goals of the partnership.  It all starts with a survey of U.S. green tech companies.  The results of the survey will provide a foundation on which to build the MDCP, and also help the cooperator keep companies apprised of upcoming events and opportunities.   If you are a green tech small or medium-sized company interested in entering or expanding your overseas activities especially in Brazil, please take the survey.

Non-profit organizations interested in hearing more about how they can apply to become an MDCP partner can attend “Partnering to Double Exports” on December 1.

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