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So much to learn from each other

Penny Pritzker, secretary of commerce of the United States for Brazilian Business
Penny Pritzker, secretary of commerce of the United States
On behalf of the U.S. Department of Commerce, I congratulate the American Chamber of Commerce of Rio de Janeiro (AmCham Rio) on its centenary. Since 1916, AmCham Rio has worked as a trusted ally for both business and Government in our joint efforts to strengthen U.S.-Brazil commercial relations.

No one should doubt the commitment of the U.S. Government to our relationship with Brazil. The United States and Brazil are home to strong, diverse democracies with generous and entrepreneurial people. We have so much to learn from each other. With that in mind, our two Governments are actively engaged in dialogues that cover a broad array of issues and represent our shared values, from international economic issues to climate change.

Our economic ties are central to the broader U.S.-Brazil relationship, and together we are working to strengthen that relationship. Through the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum, our two Governments receive joint recommendations from senior U.S. and Brazilian executives on how to better strengthen our commercial ties. Through the U.S.-Brazil Commercial Dialogue, under the leadership of Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade Ken Hyatt, we are working with the Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade (MDIC) to foster increased trade and investment between our two countries. We value our strong partnership with our colleagues at MDIC and look forward to working even more closely with them in the coming years.

Although much progress has been made, we cannot afford to stand still. Indeed, the data illustrate that there is plenty of room to grow business between our two countries. While Brazil is the world’s 7th largest economy, it is only our 12th largest trading partner. In 2015, bilateral trade in good dropped 19 percent over 2014. Now is the time for our two countries to engage in candid, forward-leaning conversations about our commercial relationship and steps that we must take to realize its full potential. Recognizing the urgent need for action, we have an ambitious agenda for 2016.

Frist, we want to intensify our joint work on trade facilitation to improve the rapid and secure movement of good across our borders. Business comes to a standstill if goods get stuck in customs. We support Brazil’s efforts to: ratify the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement; expand its authorized economic operator program, which is designed to expedite processing for low-risk cargo; and implement the ATA Carnet program, which will expedite the temporary import of goods essential for the Olympic Games and beyond. We are also engaged in technical discussions on issues such as electronic signature and capacity building for small – and medium – sized companies.

Second, we aim to ensure that standards serve as tools for innovation rather than act as barriers to trade. We are working jointly to promote a common vision of the use of international standards, based on WTO principles. It is critical for our bilateral trade that Brazil begin to accept more of the standards used by U.S. companies. Without recognition of the relevant standards used in the U.S. market, Brazilian and U.S. companies are at a disadvantage when it comes to two-way trade.

Third, we want to institutionalize good regulatory practices by implementing our Memorandum of Intent on Regulatory Coherence. Improvements to the regulatory environment will save U.S. and Brazilian companies time and money by making the regulatory process more transparent, more consistent, and more predictable.

Fourth, we are executing the Patent Prosecution Highway pilot agreement. Under this pilot program, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Brazil’s National Institute for Industrial Property will be able to streamline their patent examination processes by sharing patent examination work performed on corresponding applications filed in both patent offices. This program will promote expeditious, less costly and more effective patent protection, an essential tool for our innovators to compete in the global economy.

Fifth, we want to inaugurate the U.S.-Brazil Defense Industry Dialogue in 2016. The Defense Industry Dialogue will help identify potential partnerships and spur technological cooperation between our defense industries.

Concrete progress in these five areas will be an important step forward toward realizing the potential of the U.S.-Brazil commercial relationship. Executing this ambitious agenda, which will require focus and resolve, will make our companies more globally competitive and promote economic growth.

We fully appreciate the challenges facing Brazil today and their impact on the business community. But now is not the time to blink. If anything, these challenges underscore the need to further strengthen our commercial ties by removing the unnecessary barriers that inhibit a closer, more productive partnership. We thank AmCham Rio for its support of this important objective. And we look forward to working with AmCham Rio in 2016 and beyond.

* Os artigos assinados são de total responsabilidade de seus autores, não representando necessariamente a opinião dos editores e da Câmara de Comércio Americana do Rio de Janeiro.



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