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.
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.