Opinion article written by Ambassador Liliana Ayalde for the newspaper O Globo and published on May 23, 2016.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Rio de Janeiro is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, making it the oldest American Chamber in Latin America. It is a symbol of the importance of the commercial relationship between the two largest economies in the Americas.
For over 100 years, U.S. companies have recognized Brazil’s importance as a trade partner, and its value as a place to invest. While each of our economies has been through its share of ups and downs during that time, the commercial relationship has thrived. In recent years, we have seen more and more companies building innovative partnerships, creating new opportunities and driving commerce to new heights.
Just as American companies have a long-term relationship and perspective on Brazil, so does the United States Government. Brazil is the 2nd largest economy in the hemisphere, with over 200 million consumers. It is a “must play” market for U.S. multi-national corporations. We will continue to deepen our collaboration on trade, investment, and innovation.
Our enduring bilateral relationship has a broad, solid foundation, which we seek to strengthen and expand. Trade in both directions is substantial and diverse, but enormous potential for growth remains. Harmonizing standards and cutting the time and expense of customs processing are just two of many ways we can facilitate and better meet the potential of our bilateral trade.
The United States remains among the top sources of direct investment in Brazil – over $US 6 billion in 2015. Still, there is room to do more here too. We recently signed an agreement to facilitate more investment in Brazilian infrastructure, combining American technology with an area of recognized need for Brazil.
Looking in the other direction, we are happy to see strong Brazilian representation at our annual SelectUSA Summit, where we discuss the best opportunities for foreign companies to invest in the United States. Foreign direct investment between our countries continues to grow, and we look forward to welcoming the Brazilian delegation to the Summit in June.
We are also charting a course to make sure our business partnerships are ready for the challenges of the future. Whether exchanging best practices on developing renewable energy, expediting the patent application process, or sharing research through partnerships between universities, we are committed to working together to prepare our companies, our organizations, and our youth to better compete in the 21st century.
It is hard to imagine that the founding members at the first AmCham meeting 100 years ago could have foreseen where the U.S.-Brazil relationship would be today. Our countries have grown to be the two largest economies in the hemisphere and two of the largest in the world. We are eager to see what more we can accomplish in the next 100 years of working together.