By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Despite forecasts of a difficult year for Brazil’s economy, a business initiative, Brazil Business Hub, was launched last week in the United Kingdom to assist companies which want to export to Brazil and tap into the largest economy in South America and one of the largest in the world.
“We are looking at Brazil for the long term in context with other major partner countries such as China and India,” says Philip Gray, director of the Brazil Business Hub. “In our view the current economic troubles are simply part of normal international business and don’t affect the attractiveness of Brazil as a long term partner.”
Although many large UK firms have already set up operations in Brazil, Gray admits that for smaller companies setting up in Brazil is usually not easy. “Language, bureaucracy and culture are just three of the numerous challenges to be faced,” says the executive, adding that it is a complex process, just as in other BRIC countries such as China and India.
According to the director the response so far has been positive, “We have had a great response. The timing is right for a hub which connects and helps develop engineering and manufacturing supply chain partnerships between Brazil and the UK.”
In an interview with The Rio Times, Gray says the objective is to make the firm a focal point for events, sector initiatives and support services for UK and Brazilian businesses as well as developing local content capabilities for major engineering and manufacturing projects in Brazil.
According to the company’s website (www.brazilbusinesshub.com) the hub will start out focusing on four major industries: oil and gas, automotive, aerospace and airports, and medical. The Brazil Business Hub is a joint venture between the GTMA trade association and Commercial Doctor Ltd. in partnership with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) .
“The Brazil Business Hub will place Brazil firmly on the map for UK firms. We are proud to be basing the hub at the heart of the UK’s engineering and manufacturing supply chain,” says Gray. According to the executive the increasing dependence on engineering solutions for Brazil’s continued development provides an excellent opportunity for UK companies.
The UK government’s Pink Book, has Brazil listed in its 2010 report, as the 27th most important destination for UK goods, with exports reaching £2.2 billion or 0.8 percent of all UK exports.