Guest blog post by Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary for International Trade, International Trade Administration
Today I had the honor of inaugurating the U.S. Pavilion at the Offshore Technologies Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The pavilion is giving more than 80 U.S. firms the opportunity to exhibit their products and services to potential buyers in Brazil and elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere. The pavilion also supports a Department of Commerce–certified trade mission that was organized by the state of Louisiana along with that state’s Committee of 100 for Economic Development.
Why Brazil? There are a lot of reasons for U.S. companies to look for business here, especially in the energy sector. Economically, Brazil is on the rise. It is the world’s seventh largest economy and in 2010 posted a real GDP growth rate of 7.5 percent. This strong growth is sure to continue in the long-term. One factor in that growth will be Brazil’s oil and gas sector, buoyed by the recent discovery of offshore oil reserves in the Santos Basin. The discovery of these reserves is good news for the United States—both for the potential market it represents for U.S. sellers of energy products, technologies, and services as well as for the likelihood that that it will make Brazil a stable and secure source of energy for the United States in the future.
The United States and Brazil share deep economic and commercial ties, and I am committed to making sure that these ties are developed and strengthened. One way is through government-to-government initiatives such as the recently inaugurated U.S.-Brazil Strategic Energy Dialogue and the ongoing U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum. But another way is to make sure that U.S. companies have the resources they need to export to Brazil.
The International Trade Administration, through its U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, can help U.S. exporters do just that. We have seasoned export counselors located in more than 100 U.S. Export Assistance Centers throughout the country who can walk companies through the steps needed to enter and expand in this market. We also have commercial counselors in more than 70 U.S. embassies and consulates across the globe, including four in Brazil. These experts can help establish the personal contacts a company will need to succeed.
These personal relationships hold the key to successfully doing business anywhere. As I told the attendees at the conference today, when it ends I want them to do more than just exchange business cards or e-mails. They should leave with new friendships, new partnerships, and new opportunities to do business.