Beacon Council brands Brazil land of future main target of present
By Zachary S. Fagenson
With economists, business leaders and economic development gurus endlessly harping on the importance of Brazil to Miami's economy, the county's official economic development organization, the Beacon Council, is revving up to put a plan on paper and dedicate resources to foster the relationship.
The agency's private sector executive committee voted last week for the organization to hold a Miami-Dade County/Brazil business development strategy workshop March 30 at its Eighth Street offices.
"It's going to be a way to discuss how Miami-Dade County and Brazil can capitalize on opportunities presented by the interaction of both" regions, said Beacon Council President and CEO Frank Nero. The council hopes "to develop a multiyear action plan with identified resources based upon ideas and suggestions."
The tentative schedule looks to be briefings by Brazilian agencies and companies in the morning, a lunch keynote speaker followed by discussion that will in part dictate the next steps.
The Beacon Council has already secured participation of the Brazilian consul general in Miami, the Brazilian trade office in Miami and the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce in Florida.
The Beacon Council is also bringing in representatives from the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, American Airlines, Miami International Airport, the Port of Miami, the Miami Free Zone, Enterprise Florida, the US Commercial Service and the local chapter of the World Trade Center.
The event is invitation-only, but companies or individuals with experience in Brazil are encouraged to contact the Beacon Council to participate.
The obsession isn't without cause.
Brazil is poised in 2014 to host both the World Cup and the summer Olympics and is investing billions in its infrastructure in preparation for the global events.
Through October 2010 the nation registered $11.03 billion in bilateral trade with the Miami Customs District, which stretches from Port St. Lucie to the Keys, according to a WorldCity analysis of US Customs Bureau Data. The total for the year should eclipse 2009, which saw $11.07 billion in of goods shipped between the two.
The International Monetary Fund and World Bank project Brazil's Gross Domestic Product to grow 4% to 5% annually through 2015.
At the same time, the complex nature of Brazil's fast-growing economy can be challenging for some businesses to break into.
Manny Mencia, senior vice president of international trade and business development for Enterprise Florida, echoed the excitement and opportunity in Brazil but offered a word of caution.
"Brazil is a challenging market. You have to be well prepared to penetrate it," he said in a previous interview. "It's most suitable for producers, not intermediaries, and companies who are a bit more tried in the export sectors, but I don't think any company doing business internationally could ignore Brazil."
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