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U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank: We Must Build on the Strength of U.S.-Brazil Economic Relations

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Blank, Froman co-chair eighth meeting of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank commended the progress that has been made to strengthen the economic relationship between the United States and Brazil, following the eighth meeting of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum, which took place in Brasilia, Brazil this week. Blank co-chaired the meeting along with Michael Froman, Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs; Fernando Pimentel, Brazil’s Minister of Development, Industry, and Foreign Trade; and Gleisi Hoffmann, Brazil’s Presidential Chief of Staff.

“It is clear that both the Obama and Rousseff Administrations recognize that our two countries must continue to build on the strength of U.S.-Brazil economic relations,” Blank said. “This meeting of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum was an opportunity to hear from companies about how we can improve our commercial relationship to help businesses in both of our countries succeed. We heard many recommendations from the CEOs, on topics ranging from tax issues, to efforts that will ease travel between our two countries, to cooperation on infrastructure development and to support of educational exchanges and workforce development. This establishes a strong agenda for our work over the months and years to come.”

The U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum was created to bring private sector leaders from both countries together to develop joint recommendations on how to deepen our commercial ties, and to present those recommendations to the U.S. and Brazilian governments. The Forum has identified five areas as priorities: tax and trade issues; education and innovation; infrastructure; energy; and aviation.


At today’s meeting, Deputy Secretary Blank noted the U.S. and Brazilian governments have worked hard to make progress on the recommendations made by the CEOs at last year’s forum. The action-oriented recommendations from the CEOs at this year’s meeting included:

  • Calling upon the governments to take advantage of the momentum from the recently-approved Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) to take on additional tax issues that could eventually pave the way for a Bilateral Tax Treaty.
  • Continuing to make progress on Brazil’s participation in the Global Entry Program, making it easier for Brazilians traveling to the United States on business to get through immigration at U.S. airports.
  • Continuing efforts to increase cooperation in the area of infrastructure and take advantage of the U.S. infrastructure trade mission, scheduled for May, to create opportunities for U.S. and Brazilian companies to partner on infrastructure improvements.
  • Continuing to cooperate on education and workforce development issues by supporting programs like President Obama’s “100,000 Strong in the Americas” initiative and Brazil’s “Scientific Mobility Program.”
  • Building upon the work of the Strategic Energy Dialogue and involve the private sector in energy infrastructure and policy discussions.
  • Building on cooperation between the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and Brazil’s National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) to engage in more formal worksharing efforts to support innovation.
  • Continuing work begun under the Aviation Partnership Agreement to advance aviation cooperation and use the Aviation Partnership as a model for other sectors.

A formal set of CEO recommendations from the 2013 U.S-Brazil CEO Forum will be released in the coming weeks.

While we have more than doubled bilateral trade between the United States and Brazil in just the past 10 years – reaching a record $76 billion in merchandise trade in 2012 – Deputy Secretary Blank said that both countries believe there is more room for partnership, shared growth and mutual prosperity.

“We must pursue the many opportunities to open our markets to each other and bring more good jobs to the citizens in both Brazil and the United States,” Blank said.

Continued Engagement:

Blank also announced that as part of the Obama Administration’s continued engagement with Brazil and Latin America, the Commerce Department will lead an infrastructure-focused trade mission to Brazil – as well as Colombia and Panama – in May. The goal of the mission is not only to increase U.S. exports, but also share U.S. expertise in infrastructure development with these countries, and to demonstrate the United States’ commitment to a sustained economic partnership with Brazil and the region.

This year’s meeting brought together 17 CEOs of U.S. and Brazilian companies. The U.S. Brazil CEO Forum last met in April 2012, during President Dilma Rousseff’s visit to the United States. The 12 Brazilian companies and 10 U.S. companies that make up the CEO Forum represent significant commercial interests in both markets. The U.S. CEOs serve two-year terms, and are selected from respondents to a joint Commerce-White House Federal Register notice. The next recruitment for U.S. CEOs is expected in the spring of 2013, as the current term expires in August.