Doing business in Brazil - an introductory guide
Authors: Special thanks to José Blanco, Ronaldo Veirano, Laercio Farina, Geoff Short, Andrew Jacobi, Ken Marshall, Elizabeth Farina, Samuel Giordano, Claudia Viegas, Tatiana Farina and IDP Education Australia — Brazil, for their contributions to the publication.
Editors: Cameron Brown and Peter Rennert
Design and production by Green Advertising
Foreword - Minister for Trade, Mark Vaile
"Doing Business in Brazil" is a follow-up to the 1999 publication "Doing Business in Latin America". Along with the portfolio’s annual "Capture the Americas — Latin America" seminar series, it is another tangible sign of the Government’s commitment to promoting Australian trade and investment in Latin America, and supporting the efforts of the business community.
The importance of expanding Australia’s relations with Latin America was highlighted by the report, tabled in September 2000, on "Australia’s Trade and Investment Relationship with South America" by the Trade Sub-Committee of the Joint Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade of the Australian Parliament. The report assessed that the region had considerable market expansion potential and could play a more important role from Australia’s trading perspective.
The Government has responded positively to the thrust of the recommendations. In particular, at the time of his visit to Brazil in March 2001, my colleague, Mr Downer, and I jointly announced the creation of the Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR). The Council, which will include prominent business representatives with experience in Latin America, will advise government and business on ways to further Australia’s commercial, economic and political interests in the region.
Of all the region’s markets, Brazil stands out. It is already Australia’s largest trading partner there, and, due to its economic size and diversity, offers significant potential.
My first official overseas assignment as Australian Trade Minister in September 1999 included a visit to Brazil. I was struck by the warm and positive relations that exist between our two countries. I was able to speak to Australian business people on the ground and obtain first-hand assessments of the opportunities for our exporters.
While the commercial relationship is growing, it remains less than optimal: Brazil, the ninth largest economy in the world, accounts for only 0.5 per cent of Australia’s total exports. Clearly, the potential for further commercial cooperation is substantial.
Of course, there are historical and commercial reasons for this modest trade relationship, but changes to the Brazilian economy are providing new opportunities. For example, Brazil has made substantial progress in opening its markets to investment. It is now a primary target for North American and European capital, with many of the world’s largest companies making strategic acquisitions.
Importantly, Brazil has also made progress towards further trade liberalisation. As the economy becomes more outward-looking, the opportunities for Australia will continue to expand.
Already there is substantial evidence that more Australian companies are looking to Brazil as a market for growth. Some of our traditional corporate leaders such as Burns Philp, WMC and BHP are being joined by a new guard of innovative small and medium-sized enterprises such as Open Telecommunications, Quiksilver, Maptek, Agrichem, Securency and Hills Industries that are featured in this publication. These companies are leading the way for all Australian companies.
Apart from the direct commercial relationship, Australia and Brazil have much in common in our approaches to trade policy. For example, as members of the Cairns Group, Australia and Brazil work together to promote freer global trade in agriculture. This cooperation has extended to lobbying against barriers to sugar exports. Brazil and Australia are the world’s two largest sugar exporters.
The message in this publication is a simple one: Brazil offers a major market for Australian businesses. I encourage more Australian business people to take a look at this South American giant for themselves.