Fact Sheet: Strengthening the U.S.-Brazil Economic Relationship
Today, President Obama and President Rousseff celebrated a vibrant bilateral economic relationship through enhanced trade, investment, and cooperation in the energy infrastructure, environment, and sustainable development arenas. During President Rousseff’s visit, President Obama noted multiple initiatives that will broaden and deepen our trade and economic ties, further strengthening the relationship between the Western Hemisphere’s two largest democracies and economies.
Trade, Investment, and Commercial Engagement
• President Obama welcomed the recent inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Brazil Commission on Economic and Trade Relations. The Commission was established under the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation (ATEC) that was concluded on the occasion of the two Presidents’ last meeting in Brasilia. During its first meeting last month, the Commission agreed to establish a dialogue on investment issues and explore greater cooperation on intellectual property rights and innovation, cross-border trade in services, and small and medium-sized enterprises. The next meeting of the Commission will be held in Brazil in 2013.
• President Obama and President Rousseff also participated in the seventh meeting of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum. The public-private high-level Forum is charged with providing joint recommendations to the U.S. and Brazilian governments on strengthening our commercial and economic ties. The Forum welcomed substantive progress on trade and investment cooperation, visa reforms, infrastructure investment, and civil aviation, and called for further progress on these issues. The government co-chairs and CEOs agreed the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum should next meet in Brazil in September 2012.
• President Obama also highlighted work to strengthen commercial ties, including through the U.S.-Brazil Commercial Dialogue, co-chaired by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry, and Foreign Trade. During its January 2012 meeting, the Commercial Dialogue reported on a wide range of engagement and best practices exchanges including on the movement of people and goods, regulatory improvements, education, standards cooperation, and services. The President also welcomed the September 2012 President’s Export Council (PEC) mission to Brazil. PEC members will meet Brazilian business and government leaders to identify opportunities to increase trade with Brazil and highlight the benefits of our deepening economic partnership.
• President Obama also noted progress in promoting common positions on global economic policy matters through the Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD). The two Presidents announced the EFD in March 2011 and noted its progress in subsequent meetings in July and September 2011 as an effective forum for advancing our shared interests, and identifying areas for greater cooperation.
• President Obama welcomed the exchange of letters today that will launch a process to provide distinctive product designations for Tennessee Whiskey and Bourbon Whiskey from the United States and Cachaça from Brazil. Once in place, these designations will create additional opportunities for trade for some of the United States’ and Brazil’s most unique and well-recognized goods.
Aviation Partnership and Infrastructure Investments
• Following last year’s signature of the U.S.-Brazil Air Transport (“Open Skies”) Agreement, the President welcomed further concrete progress on aviation and infrastructure cooperation. He welcomed the signature of the bilateral Aviation Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which will provide a coordinated venue for both countries to address aviation sector priorities, including technical cooperation on aviation infrastructure, air transportation, and air traffic management technologies. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) also announced funding for an Airports Modernization Technologies Reverse Trade Mission for Brazilian officials in June 2012, which will be the inaugural activity of the U.S. Brazil Aviation Partnership.
• In other measurable progress, the USTDA signed feasibility study grants for several infrastructure projects in Brazil, including for airports modernization in Rio de Janeiro and water efficiency in Manaus and Fortaleza. These grants are the latest in a robust USTDA Brazil portfolio that includes on-going studies and technical assistance funding in the areas of smart grid, clean energy, ports, surface transportation, and information and communications technologies. In addition, both governments have made progress under the Joint Initiative on Urban Sustainability (JIUS) to catalyze private investment in clean urban infrastructure, promote economic growth, and foster local job creation.
Climate, Clean Energy, and Environment
• President Obama welcomed the outcome of the UN climate conference in Durban, with respect to both operationalizing the Cancun agreement and laying the foundation for a new regime applicable to all Parties from 2020 onwards. He highlighted his priority to continue to work together with Brazil to secure a successful outcome at the UN climate conference in Doha, including through the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate and ongoing cooperation through the Clean Energy Ministerial and the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas to hasten the transition to clean energy economies.
• He further recognized the UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative as an opportunity to highlight the imperative of increasing energy access and advancing energy efficiency and renewable energy development, noting that biofuels especially can make an important contribution to providing clean energy and addressing climate change, including in the international aviation sector. In addition, he welcomed the strengthening of U.S.-Brazil dialogue on environment and sustainable development through the adoption of a new bilateral agreement focused on environmental impact assessment, advanced monitoring, risk analysis, and environmental justice, and recognized the progress on bilateral cooperation with Brazil to protect forests and reduce deforestation through the Forest Investment Program.
• President Obama underscored the importance of the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Brazil as an opportunity to promote inclusive and environmentally sustainable growth through innovation and broad stakeholder engagement. To that end, he noted progress made under JIUS and pledged continued support for the U.N. Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative, as concrete actions demonstrating the potential for building greener economies and charting a course at Rio+20 for the next 20 years of sustainable development.