Brasília and Washington – The 11th meeting of the United States-Brazil CEO Forum was held on Monday simultaneously in Brasília and Washington, D.C., through videoconference, allowing both governments and private sector participants to discuss the progress made in areas identified as priorities within the joint recommendations presented in the last edition of the Forum, held in Washington, D.C., in November 2019.
The U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum currently comprises 19 CEOs representing various industries in the United States and Brazil, and is co-chaired on the government side by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, Brazilian Minister of the Civil Cabinet of the Presidency Walter Braga Netto; and Brazilian Minister of Economy Paulo Guedes. U.S. and Brazilian private sector co-chairs include Mr. Dow Wilson, CEO of Varian Medical Systems, and Mr. Marco Stefanini, CEO and founder of the Stefanini Group. Other government representatives, including Brazilian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ernesto Araújo, the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Todd Chapman and Brazilian Ambassador to the United States Nestor Forster, also participated in discussions during the Forum.
During the plenary meeting, the government co-chairs recognized the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to both countries and reiterated their strong commitment to the strategic alliance between the United States and Brazil established by Presidents Trump and Bolsonaro and highlighted during their March meeting.
The private sector underscored their recommendations from the November 2019 meeting, which included proposals to increase cooperation in bilateral trade policies and the regulatory environment, infrastructure cooperation, collaboration in the technology sector and improvements in health, education, and workforce development, with concrete examples and business cases that depict how their recommended actions directly impact businesses active in both countries.
In response, the government co-chairs shared the progress made regarding cross-cutting trade policy reforms, where both governments emphasized technical progress made under the U.S.-Brazil Commercial Dialogue, which most recently convened last May. The USTR-led Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation (ATEC), which was relaunched in 2019 was also of note. ATEC is on track to achieve concrete results in the areas of trade facilitation, good regulatory practices, and anticorruption. Secretary Ross asserted the importance of advancing regulatory cooperation across sectors, including through the new Inter-American Coalition for Regulatory Convergence for the Medical Technology Sector, and through digital sector workshops on emerging technologies like the internet-of-things.
Trade facilitation continues to be a priority issue for both countries given the potential to reduce unnecessarily burdensome regulations, cut costs, and increase trade flows between the United States and Brazil. Both governments also highlighted the progress made and planned next steps on the Authorized Economic Operator Joint Workplan towards a mutual recognition agreement between the United States and Brazil. Accordingly, Secretary Ross noted the continued and planned cooperation in implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.
Furthermore, Minister Guedes highlighted the importance of continued work on Good Regulatory Practices. In his view, the Brazilian interest in prioritizing negotiations under ATEC on the subject of good regulatory practices reinforces its commitment to adopt efficient, less costly, and rational economic and regulatory mechanisms.
Participants discussed progress on the inclusion of Brazilian nationals in the Trusted Traveler Global Entry Program, which allows expedited clearance for pre-approved travelers upon arrival in the United States. Minister Braga Netto provided updates on concrete steps the Government of Brazil has taken in this area, including the publishing of a decree, last March, which establishes three phases for Global Entry implementation in Brazil and lists the roles of different agencies in this regard. The first phase, already finalized, included the first Brazilian participants, and the second phase will widen the scope of those able to participate in the program, as well as prepare for comprehensive availability in the third phase.
Minister Braga Netto reinforced Brazil’s commitment to enhance convergence with the policies of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), highlighting that Brazil has adhered to 96 OECD legal instruments, including in areas such as competition policy, consumer rights and agriculture, and that 46 requests for adherence to additional instruments are currently being considered by the Organization. Secretary Ross reiterated U.S. support for continued action by Brazil towards its accession to the OECD.
Minister Guedes highlighted that the U.S. Department of Treasury and Ministry of Economy signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in March to strengthen investments in infrastructure and have already begun work, convening a strategy working group and a technical exchange on cost-benefit analysis. Both governments recognized the importance of a Bilateral Taxation treaty between Brazil and the United States to promote and facilitate trade and investment.
Minister Braga Netto addressed the importance of deploying new telecommunication infrastructure to accelerate coverage expansion in Brazil. In this context, he highlighted the expected impact of recently approved legislation in Brazil which, in line with private sector suggestions, will reduce bureaucracy, accelerate terrestrial fiber expansion and facilitate the installation of telecommunications equipment and small cells, all of which are needed for the higher capacity density that 5G networks will demand. Meanwhile, Secretary Ross highlighted recent and future planned cooperation under the U.S.-Brazil Energy Forum and in the commercial space sector.
Throughout the meeting, both governments emphasized their commitment to provide priority attention to the private sector’s recommendations to foster mutually beneficial economic growth and prosperity. They also reiterated agreement on the relevance and value of bilateral mechanisms, such as the Commercial Dialogue, the ATEC, the Defense Industry Dialogue and the Energy Forum, which engage government counterparts on both sides.
The two governments will maintain regular contact across agencies to ensure that private sector recommendations are fully considered in policy decisions.