Prominent Brazilian Government and Business Representatives Discuss Brazil’s Place in Global Trade at an Event in São Paulo
The Brazilian Institute of International Relations and Foreign Trade (IRICE), together with the Center for Studies on Global Trade and Investments of Getulio Vargas University of São Paulo and the Magazine Interesse Nacional promoted an event to discuss where Brazil stands regarding international trade – “Foreign Trade: Brazil’s place in the world” – on November 28, 2016, at Getulio Vargas University.
Many relevant government authorities and businessmen attended the event, including Mr. José Serra, Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations, Mr. Celso Lafer, Professor at São Paulo’s University (USP), Mr. Rubens Barbosa, Brazilian Ambassador (IRICE), Mr. Roberto Jaguaribe, Brazilian Ambassador (APEX-Brasil) and Mr. José Roberto Mendonça de Barros, founding partner at MB associates.
A growing protectionist mood seems to be taking control of a great number of economies throughout the world. At the same time, Brazil is looking forward to integrate and solidify its position in the global market, as the new government puts its strategy in place. Therefore, the question on what is going to be the place of Brazil in the global trade has been raised. The main objective of this event was not only to answer the question, but also to analyze the role Brazilian authorities are perceiving for the country within what seems to be an unfavorable international scenario.
All government members seemed to agree that Brazil is a quite closed economy and that such condition has not been bringing good results to the country in terms of integration in global trade. Government authorities believe that trade is essential for the development of the country and intend to perceive it. Mr. Jaguaribe advocated that the Brazilian difficulty to access foreign markets is related to its lack of commercial intelligence, rather than integration on commercial trades, as usually believed.
With regards to commercial intelligence, Mr. Jaguaribe argued that Brazil must act in several different areas to improve the current trade system. Among its actions, he stated that Brazil should develop a better tariff and tax system, encourage Brazilian producers to export and build a good image of Brazil in the international market.
Additionally, there was a consensus among Brazilian authorities on the importance of the agribusiness for the country’s future development, since it attracts R&D, generates jobs and brings investments. It seems the Brazilian government will strategically give special attention to this sector.
Finally, there was a consensus regarding the fact that Brazil must invest in agribusiness as the main sector of its export agenda. Mr. Serra has shown his commitment in perceiving trade by increasing trade negotiations and diversifying Brazil’s commercial partners.
The new Government’s intention in investing time and resources in developing trade seems to be a good start, but the fact remains that Brazil has not done much improvement in the past years in the foreign trade area. In that sense, the effect of the world’s more conservative actions will most likely not have a significant effect for Brazilian business.