By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – According to Jimmy Story, Consul General at the U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro, relations between the United States and Brazil should suffer no setbacks following the surprising U.S. presidential election victory of business mogul and reality television star, Donald Trump.
Story’s comments were made last night, Wednesday, November 17th, at a symposium regarding U.S. and Brazil relations, held at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, School of Economy and Finance, in Botafogo, in Rio’s Zona Sul (South Zone).
At the event, the U.S. Consul General said the two countries are partners on many issues, including the fight against Zika and security issues, “We are two democracies in the Americas, the largest, this is important to us. The relationship with Brazil is very important.”
Story cited the American Chamber of Commerce for Brazil (Amcham-Brasil), founded in 1919 and now the biggest American Chamber in the world, as well as the numerous American companies in Brazil, as evidence of the deep ties between the two countries.
He noted that, currently, 99 percent of people flying in airplanes produced by the Brazilian Aeronautics Company (Embraer) are American. Most of Embraer’s aircraft are exported to the United States. “This is an example of the relationship we have,” expressed Story. “It will always be very deep and will cover various topics.”
Over the next several years, Story revealed that the U.S. intends to double its trade with Brazil, which currently amounts to about US$100 billion. One of the sectors, Story said, that the U.S. government needs to encourage more is tourism.
“I think the United States could send millions more tourists to Brazil, which offers everything,” he said, noting that the infrastructure sectors, oil and gas, and security are also on the radar for new U.S. investments in the country.
The Consul said that the exportation of beef from Brazil also has growth potential, as well as the cyber and digital areas. “These are all issues where the two countries have to work jointly,” exclaimed Story.
The U.S. Consul General was joined on stage by Rubens Penha Cysne, the director of the Getulio Vargas Foundation. According to Cysne, Trump’s win has caused the whole world to reflect deeper on a number of issues, “People were not concerned about the issue of distribution of power and geopolicy, and now they are thinking.” He added, “It is not trivial when you wake up a sleeping giant of people who were not thinking about this subject. This is a result of [the U.S. election].”
Cysne chose to take a more cautious approach regarding how Trump’s presidency will affect Brazil, “There is the possibility that if taxes fall in the United States, this will cause interest rates outside the U.S. to rise. Therefore, the decrease in the interest rate that was expected in Brazil, will be slower.” Cysne added, “That’s what we have now…the rest, we know very little.”
Consul General Story avoided making firm predictions about the Trump administration, stressing that “it is one thing to campaign and another to govern.” He called the American electoral process transparent and while Trump’s election was seen as shocking by some, it was the result of democracy, “The vote is the voice of the American people. We must wait for what his platform will be.”
“We will not speculate,” said Story, who concluded, “We also should not be so anxious about the changes.”