Business Opportunities: Brazil-California

Next week, I will present at Monterey Bay International Trade Association BRICS conference.  Here is the link:

My presentation is on business opportunities for California companies in Brazil.  A preview goes something like this:  Brazil and California have some similarities: the world’s 6th and 8th largest economies respectively, beach cultures and bureaucracy.  Partially due to geography, but no determinism here, Brazil and California are way underweight in their trade relationship.  Last year, for the first time, trade hit 5 billion dollars but that is well below 10 of the US-Brazil trade volume.  Brazil ranks as California’s 23 trade partner and while the state certainly looks west to Asia and south to Mexico, it still does more trade with the Netherlands and France then it does with Brazil.  California exports about 3 billion to Brazil with electronics and computers at about 1 bi, followed by aerospace, chemicals, and machinery and industrial stuff.  Brazil exports about 2 bi to California and oil, ethanol and petroleum derivatives make up 3/4s of the total so only 500 million is other product.  So what are the other products.  Well mainly coffee and granite.  Brazil does export, in addition, a bit of machinery, foot ware, and fruit.  All in all, it shows a lack of Brazil’s industrial competitiveness.  But no need to say that in a forum where we are talking about opportunities for California companies.

There are, of course, opportunities for IT, aircraft, aircraft parts, chemicals as industrial inputs, machinery and technology as well as consumer goods still made in California.  Since Brazil is pushing for infra-structure development and the pre-salt oil fields, companies that can contribute specialized equipment say for water treatment, high tech valves, underwater robots, and things along this line have great opportunities.  Information technology, clean tech, agricultural techniques and capital goods also have strong demand and represent strengths of the California economy.  Real estate, resort development, construction management are available but the investor will need good local partners and have to be in for the long haul. 

My experience is that if you are in entrepreneurial in Brazil, there are so many successful ideas in cosmopolitan cultures like California that you can almost pick and choose.  The problem is that you have to commit to Brazil and make the decision to live there. 

All in all, I don’t think that is a bad choice.  On the other hand, I know many Brazilians who still dream of living in a more organized, cheaper and predictable environment.

I always say: Brazil is not for beginners.


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