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U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Advances U.S.-Brazil Trade Relationship During Presidential Trip

Friday, March 18, 2011

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke arrived today in Brazil, where he will accompany President Obama on his first trip to South America. Locke participated in number of meetings with key ministers leading up to the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum tomorrow. 

Locke met with Fernando Pimentel, the Brazilian Minister of Development Industry and Foreign Trade to discuss ongoing cooperation on key commercial relationship issues and the short- and long-term priorities of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum.

“Brazil has been an important commercial partner and I am delighted to be kicking off this historic visit which will launch a dialogue at the highest level to bring our two nations even closer together,” said Locke. “My hope is that we can move towards a more robust relationship and increase our bilateral trade.”

Earlier in the day, Locke met with Antonio Palocci, President Dilma Rousseff's Chief of Staff and co-chair of the U.S.-Brazil CEO forum, to discuss increased commercial engagement between the two countries. He discussed improving cooperation on Intellectual Property Rights issues with Brazilian Minister of Culture Ana de Hollanda.

Later tonight, Locke and other Administration officials will meet with more than a dozen U.S and Brazilian CEOs to set priorities and goals for tomorrow's U.S. Brazil CEO Forum.

Locke will co-chair tomorrow’s sixth meeting of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum where U.S. and Brazilian business leaders will discuss concrete recommendations to improve trade between the two countries.

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.

In 2010, the United States generated a merchandise trade surplus with Brazil totaling more than $11 billion – the United States’ fifth-largest surplus, and a 90 percent increase from the $6 billion goods trade surplus recorded with Brazil in 2009.

The largest U.S. merchandise export category to Brazil in 2010 was machinery valued at $7.2 billion. Other top export categories in 2010 included aircraft and parts ($4.4 billion), electric machinery ($4.3 billion), mineral fuel and oil ($4.2 billion), and organic chemicals ($2.0 billion).

Secretary Locke will depart for São Paolo on Sunday where he will tour the Embraer production facility and deliver remarks to the American Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Monday followed by a tour of Cummins Inc.