Brazil chamber set to capitalize on Miami business
By Ivan A. Rodriguez
The new president of the Brazil-American Chamber of Commerce of Florida aims to strengthen the organization and help it grow by taking advantage of a recent increase of Brazilian business to the area.
The chamber's previous executive vice president Claudio Cury, who is also director of the Wells Fargo Capital Finance channel finance division, assumed leadership after former president Saulo Ferraz returned to Brazil.
"Miami is a major destination for a lot of Brazilians who come for vacation and for business. A lot of them end up moving here, Mr. Cury.
Mr. Cury said Brazil is already the largest trading partner for South Florida, which attracts a growing number of Brazilians, helping the chamber grow and keeping on track with its mission to foster business relations and partnerships in order to increase trade and investments between Brazil and South Florida.
"We see that as ongoing businesses, especially with the real estate. Brazilians come and spend their money here," said Mr. Cury.
A November survey by the Miami Realtors Association showed that Brazilians made 15% of all real estate acquisitions here, second only to Venezuela among foreign buyers.
The report also states that in 2011 Brazilians bought about 150 properties valued from $1 million to $3 million in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
The chamber plans to strengthen commerce by continuing to offer events and galas to which it invites renowned speakers who appeal to members.
Two recent speakers at chamber events were vice president of Coca-Cola Javier Goizueta and the president of central bank of Brazil, Alexandre Tombini.
Events at the chamber vary from the "Feijoada," or beans, in which the new board of directors for the upcoming year is announced, to workshops for small groups of individuals, geared to focus on issues of interest to a specific segment.
"The opportunities are coming naturally. The economy here in South Florida is getting better in the real estate, more Brazilians are coming to invest and the economy in Brazil has increased from the past and has been doing well," said Mr. Cury.
According to an economic climate report by the Beacon Council, 15 Brazilian multinational companies call South Florida home, with Burger King becoming the largest after a Brazilian equity firm in 2010 purchased the fast-food chain that has its roots in Miami.
Other large Brazilian companies in Miami-Dade include Banco do Brasil, Odebrecht Contractors of South Florida, Embraer Aircraft Holding, TAM Airlines and designer furniture manufacturer Artefacto USA, according to the Brazilian Consulate General in Miami.
Banco do Brasil recently strengthened its Florida presence by buying Eurobank's three branches in Coral Gables, Pompano Beach and Boca Raton in a $6 million acquisition.
TAM Airlines is one of two airlines that offer direct flights between Brazil and Miami, servicing Brazil's growing number of tourists to the US.
In terms of local employment, besides Burger King's large workforce, Embraer is leading Brazilian multinationals with 283 local employees, followed by Odebrecht Construction's 191, according to the 2010 World City Who's Here Directory.
The Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce (Miami) was created in November 1981 as a need for a business exchange forum between Brazilian and US firms grew after the growing establishment of Brazilian businesses in South Florida that commenced in the late 1970s.
The chamber currently has more than over 300 members, according to its website.
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