By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s Minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade (MDIC), Armando Monteiro, met with U.S. Commerce Secretary, Penny Pritzker on Thursday in Washington DC to discuss measures to increase bilateral trade between the two countries.
According to the MDIC, Brazilian foreign exports to the U.S. totaled US$24.2 billion last year, but there is still room to grow.
Discussions on Thursday were centered around the synchronization of norms and a convergence of regulations between the two giants. Although U.S. tariffs for Brazilian manufactured goods is relatively low, for some industrial sectors the compliance to U.S. technical norms are a significant burden.
Monteiro also met with approximately thirty businessmen at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and answered their questions about Brazil’s current political crisis and the challenges faced by the nation.
“I emphasize my confidence of the path taken for a recovery of growth: investment in infrastructure, foreign trade and microeconomic reforms as well as reforms in the regulatory environment to improve the business environment,” said the minister.
According to the minister Brazil continues to be a very favorable country for foreign investments. “We’ve had a significant reduction of the deficit, which is now entirely covered by capital inflows. We have comfortable levels of foreign exchange reserves, which rule out the possibility of a currency crisis. We will show the strength of our institutions after the (end of the political) crisis, “concludes Monteiro.
The United States is Brazil’s second largest trade partner, losing only to China. The three main Brazilian products exported to the U.S. are machinery, aircrafts and steel products.
U.S. investors are also the main source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Brazil, with investments of around US$110 billion, according to Brazil’s Central Bank.