U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews Delivers Remarks at Brazil-U.S. Business Council Meeting


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Today, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews delivered remarks at the Brazil-U.S. Business Council Strategic Planning Meeting, hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

Before a group of public and private sector leaders, Deputy Secretary Andrews discussed the importance of the commercial relationship between the U.S. and Brazil and highlighted ways the Department of Commerce is working with our Brazilian counterparts to strengthen this partnership.

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Jodi for your kind introduction and for your outstanding leadership here at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Brazil-U.S. Business Council has long served as a valued partner for the Department of Commerce. All of you here today serve an important role in promoting closer commercial ties between the United States and Brazil.

I had the pleasure of seeing firsthand the impact that the U.S. private sector can have on our bilateral relationship when I co-chaired the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum in Brasilia last June. The CEOs provided us with valuable feedback about the steps our governments must take to facilitate greater two-way trade and investment between our countries.

I am pleased to report that we have made progress on a number of their recommendations, including: launch of the patent prosecution highway; work on regulatory coherence; and defense trade cooperation. But we still have a challenging agenda on key issues of importance for the business community, such as trade facilitation, infrastructure, and a bilateral tax treaty.

I know Secretary Pritzker looks forward to seeing robust CEO participation at the next meeting at the end of March and receiving their updated feedback about how to move the bilateral commercial relationship forward.

The United States firmly believes that the U.S.-Brazil economic partnership is crucial to the strength, stability, and security of not only our two countries, but the entire region. Both of our governments are committed to a deep, dynamic relationship – one that promotes democracy, trade, commerce, and prosperity.

We recognize that, like all relationships, ours has seen its ups and downs. But our economic bonds are too important, and we have urgent and necessary work to do to move our commercial partnership forward. That is why we have taken key steps to expand our commercial relationship through two-way international trade and foreign direct investments.

At the same time, we understand the very real challenges facing Brazil today. We appreciate their impact on U.S. business interests in the country, but we also remain hopeful about the future of Brazil’s economy.

If anything, these challenges make it even more imperative that we further strengthen our commercial ties by removing the unnecessary barriers that inhibit a closer, more productive partnership. There is tremendous opportunity for our countries to lead as allies, friends, and partners – to act in a unified, collaborative way that will spur greater economic prosperity for our companies and citizens.

The United States and Brazil are the two biggest economies and countries in the Western Hemisphere.Investment in each other’s countries helps create thousands of new jobs, drives innovation technological breakthroughs, and gives our companies access to key global supply chains. Yet, while Brazil is the world’s 7th largest economy, it is only our 12th largest trading partner. And, through November, bilateral trade in goods between our nations fell by 19 percent last year. Clearly, there is vast room for growth.

We can all agree that we can do much more business together, and that the time is now for us to realize the full potential of our relationship. Our countries must be bold as we consider the economic and commercial policies that will move our commercial partnership forward in a meaningful way.

In the United States, we know firsthand that challenging economic times present an opportunity to make improvements in how we do business. In 2010, during the biggest economic downturn in decades, President Obama launched the National Export Initiative to renew and revitalize our efforts to promote American exports abroad – and exports grew by over 50 percent.

Even though the American economy is strong once again, we know that the status quo is not good enough. That is why we continue to take bold actions that connect our country more deeply with the global economy, like completing negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the working towards an agreement on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

We must take bold action together – because in the 21st century, if you are standing still, you are actually falling behind.

At the Department of Commerce, we have no intention of standing still. We have an ambitious global agenda for 2016. I know the Brazil Council has urged our governments to begin a dialogue on a potential U.S.-Brazil free trade agreement. The study you are releasing today is an important step. While I believe an FTA is a great long-term goal, there is a lot the United States and Brazil can do now to begin laying the foundation, and the work that we do this year can serve as building blocks for the future.

To that end, the United States and Brazil have five shared priorities in 2016.

First, trade facilitation. We want to improve the rapid and secure movement of goods across our borders. To achieve this, we are supporting Brazil’s efforts to: ratify the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement; implement the ATA Carnet program to expedite temporary imports essential for the Olympic games and beyond; and expand its Authorized Economic Operator program, a trusted trade program designed to expedite processing for low-risk cargo.

Second, we want to make sure that standards are not unnecessarily restricting trade. For us, that means promoting a common vision of the use of international standards, based on WTO principles, to ensure that U.S. products are accepted in Brazil.

Third, we aim to institutionalize good regulatory practices by implementing the Memorandum of Intent on Regulatory Coherence.

Next, we want to execute the Patent Prosecution Highway pilot agreement, in order to streamline the patent examination process.

Finally, working closely with the Brazil-U.S. Business Council and its Defense and Security Task Force, we hope to inaugurate the U.S.-Brazil Defense Industry Dialogue in the coming year.

Progress in these five areas will help Brazil become more integrated into global supply chain and the global economy, which will, in turn, lead to greater economic growth. On these issues – and more – our political leaders have a huge amount of work to do. But so do you.

Our private sectors can play a critical role in bolstering our bilateral partnership and in encouraging both governments to maintain the U.S-Brazil relationship. It was the business community’s vision – your vision – that pushed us to support the creation of the Defense Industry Dialogue. Your insights on customs empowered us to create a new trade facilitation work plan.

In 2016, we once again turn to you to support us. There are a number of ways you can help us achieve our goals for the year.

We encourage you to apply to Brazil’s Authorized Economic Operator program and continue to work with us to identify concrete steps that will improve customs processes. We ask you to share with my team what standards and product testing challenges you face in Brazil.  We need you to share the message that how a government regulates products matters.

We want you to tell your in-house counsel, colleagues, and business partners about the Patient Prosecution Highway. And we want you to continue your proactive engagement on defense trade issues.

Most importantly, we need to articulate a forward-leaning vision of what the U.S.-Brazil commercial relationship should look like in five or ten years. As business leaders, you have the ability to inform the work of our governments and to help shape our government-to-government agenda.

Let me be clear: the United States Government remains committed to our relationship with Brazil. But we cannot achieve our ambitious agenda without you. It is up to all of us – working together across the public and private sectors, in the United States and Brazil – to grow this relationship and advance our economic ties. Thank you.

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Last updated: 2016-01-28 12:33

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