Foto: Ana de Oliveira, AIG/MRE
I am pleased to be able to open this second day of the 9th Brazil-United States CEO Forum, and to greet the US officials present here today: the National Security Advisor for International Economics at the White House, Caroline Atkinson; the Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Bruce Andrews; and the US Ambassador in Brasilia, Liliana Ayalde. I would like to extend a special greeting to the President of the US section of the CEO Forum, Patricia Woertz, through whom I greet all American CEOs.
I also want to greet the Brazilian officials, particularly the Presidential Chief of Staff, Aloizio Mercadante; the Minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Armando Monteiro; and the President of the Brazilian section of the CEO Forum, the entrepreneur Josué Christiano Gomes da Silva, through whom, likewise, I also wish to greet all of Brazil’s CEOs.
It gives me great pleasure to take part in this ninth forum for senior executives. I have always believed the CEO Forum plays a strategic role in strengthening our economic and trade relations. I remain very confident that this is a distinct and indeed unique mechanism for bringing together the heads of major companies in the United States and Brazil, who produce, by common agreement, recommendations for our respective heads of state with a view to facilitating trade and bilateral investment. The forum also plays an important role in identifying new ways to bring about the competitive integration of our two economies. This forum brings together not only entrepreneurs but also ministers from both sides. President Dilma Rousseff, when she was Presidential Chief of Staff, was herself one of the first Brazilian co-chairs of the CEO Forum. In my own case I had the opportunity to attend four of these forums in my previous capacity as Ambassador of Brazil to the United States, and I was able to see how its recommendations are based on great expertise, drawn up by businessmen and women who themselves experience, day-to-day, the opportunities and challenges presented by the Brazil-US economic and trade relationship.
I would like to emphasize that the presence of the CEOs here in Brasilia shows the importance and the strategic nature of the political, trade and investment relationship between Brazil and the United States. I am sure the meetings, yesterday and today, will contribute to the preparations for the visit of the President of the Republic to the United States later this month.
The topics being discussed – such as education and innovation, mobility, energy, tariffs, trade facilitation, regulatory convergence, and infrastructure – are of the highest importance in order to further enhance the dynamism of our economic and trade relationship. I note with great satisfaction that the CEOs have updated and renewed the agenda in search of more concrete results, and have also included the new and important issue of health. It was with great enthusiasm that I learned of some of the new proposals to be submitted, such as the bank of infrastructure projects based on the model “Project preparation, Project management”, support for the creation of a “National System for Early Diagnosis”, a pilot project to provide ultra-fast broadband in remote areas, and the boost for projects in the area of regulatory convergence.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The discussions that will take place in this room and the recommendations that will be passed on to our representatives seek to expand our economic and trade relationship and make it more dynamic. Allow me to mention some numbers. Trade between Brazil and the United States expanded by 76% in the period from 2005 to 2014, from US$ 35.2 billion to US$ 62.4 billion, a record high. The US is currently Brazil’s second biggest trading partner and it is the principal destination for Brazilian exports of manufactured goods, having purchased 17% of them last year. Our bilateral trading relationship not only has great dimensions but it is also diverse, which from the point of view of Brazil makes it even more strategic, because we know that the United States already recognizes our country as a supplier of high-value-added goods. We know, however, that our trading relationship has not yet realized its potential. We can further diversify Brazilian exports and increase trade in various sectors, such as beef, automobiles, aircraft, helicopters, diesel-engine parts, and medicines.
Regarding investment, I would like to point out that there are more than 2,900 American companies operating in Brazil, in various sectors including oil extraction, banking, and automobile production. US companies are the biggest foreign direct investor in Brazil: their stock of investment was US$ 116 billion in 2013, equivalent to one fifth of all such investment in Brazil. The last ten years in particular have seen an unprecedented dynamism in the flows of US capital, more than US$ 60 billion of which has entered Brazil.
Meanwhile, Brazilian companies have a stock of US $ 14 billion invested in the United States. Large Brazilian companies, such as those represented here today, have expanded the presence of Brazilian capital in the US, contributing to the growth of two-way bilateral investment flows.
An example of the growing Brazilian business presence in the US is Florida, where Brazilian consumers and entrepreneurs, working mainly in the markets of tourism, food and real estate, are contributing to the dynamism of that US state.
I would like to mention that according to the “Ranking of Brazilian Multinationals” drawn up by the Dom Cabral Foundation, the US is the country with the largest number of already-established Brazilian companies, and one of the first countries Brazilian entrepreneurs consider when they begin to expand their companies abroad.
Infrastructure, inevitably, is one of the issues brought up by Brazilian and American CEOs in seeking to advance our economic and trade agenda. I would therefore like to mention the launch last week by the [Brazilian] Federal Government of the new phase in our Logistics Investment Program. This is an ambitious package of concessions for the period 2015-2018, which includes offers to the private sector of concessions for ports, airports, roads and railways, with total investment estimated at US $ 64 billion. The projects will directly benefit 20 [Brazilian] states and 130 municipalities – and indirectly they will benefit all Brazilians, through job creation and the expansion of productive activity.
In the area of airports there are the planned privatizations of those in Porto Alegre, Salvador, Florianopolis and Fortaleza, as well as the concessions for seven regional airports in [the state of] São Paulo and one in [the state of] Goiás. With regard to roads, 15 projects are planned, with concessions for a total of 6,000 km. In the railway sector we anticipate building another 6,000 km of track. The biggest project of all in the Logistics Investment Program is the so-called “bi-oceanic” railroad between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, connecting Brazil and Latin America to Asia: the budget for that is US$ 12.9 billion. We will have improved access to Asia and the strategic trade negotiations. Finally, in the port sector, 50 new leases are planned, along with 63 permits for Private Use Terminals and 24 anticipated renewals of leases.
The launch of the new phase of the Logistics Investment Program represents a renewed commitment on the part of the Federal Government to the development of Brazil. We want to seize this important moment to invite American companies to participate in this endeavor to expand and modernize Brazil’s infrastructure. We don’t only want companies which will invest: we want companies which can be partners and which, like us, believe in the future of Brazil. As I said to President Rousseff, “the ones who profit the most are always those who bet on Brazil”.
As we can see, we have a mature and multi-faceted economic and commercial relationship which is a key part of our strategic partnership – our “partnership of equals” – and yet there are still great new opportunities to work together and achieve mutually beneficial results. It is very gratifying to be able to count on the commitment and dedication of Brazilian and American CEOs as we go in search of those opportunities, and it is a great pleasure to welcome you all to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Ladies and gentlemen,
To sum up, I wish you all success in your work today, and I hope soon to be able to study the valuable recommendations from this forum.
Thank you very much.