Brazil wants to tap Atlanta‘s knowledge and experience as it plans for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, the country’s ambassador to the U.S., Mauro Vieira, said Wednesday during a trade conference here.
“We have a lot to learn from the experience of Atlanta,” the ambassador told GlobalAtlanta during the opening session of Brazil Fest, a business and cultural event underway through July 17.
Atlanta’s experience in hosting the games in 1996 could translate into business opportunities as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s second largest city, hosts the games exactly 20 years later, the ambassador added. Brazil is also hosting the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament.
“There is a lot of possibility for investment,” the ambassador said. “Georgia is already an important partner for Brazil. I think there is a lot to do together. ”
Ruy Noqueira, Brazil’s undersecretary for trade, culture and education, reiterated the point during a speech at the Wednesday conference, which was held at the St. Regis hotel in Buckhead.
“You matter,” he told the audience, encouraging Georgia companies to participate in the massive preparations for the world’s two largest sporting events.
Brazil and Atlanta have many links, Sam Williams, president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, told the group, pointing out that Atlanta is seeking to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.
“We’re anxiously watching Brazil,” said Mr. Williams. “Being an Olympic City, we want to share our experience with you.”
The increasing number of direct flights from Atlanta to Brazil on Delta Air Lines Inc. indicate growing connections, said Mr. Williams.
“As we say in Atlanta, we like to ride the coattails of Delta, wherever they fly,” said the chamber president. “We knew that when Delta began more flights to South America, particularly to Brazil, that would give us opportunities.”
Brazil plans to spend $700 billion over the next five to six years on projects such as roads, ports, airports, trains and stadiums, to cope with an expanding economy and prepare for the World Cup and Olympics, said Adalnio Senna Ganem, Brazil’s consul general for the Southeast U.S.
Scott Greer, an attorney with Atlanta law firm King & Spalding LLP, which worked on the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, offered advice to Brazil. He said keeping building projects on schedule should be the top priority, recalling that Atlanta had backup contractors lined up in case the primary contractors faltered. “Schedule drives everything,” he said. “It’s king.”
Miriam Belchior, head of the Brazilian government’s infrastructure program, spoke at Wednesday’s program, as did Giancarlo Gerli, director of planning for the Brazilian Association of Infrastructure and Supply Industries.
Brazil has recently discovered significant offshore oil reserves which it plans to begin tapping in the next few years. Marco Antonio Martins Almeida, Brazil’s secretary for oil, natural gas and renewable fuel, spoke Wednesday about the discovery, calling it a “great opportunity for companies that want to go to Brazil.” He also discussed Brazil’s biofuel market.
“We have the potential to be a greater exporter,” of biofuels, he said.
At the close of the Atlanta conference, Mr. Vieira, the U.S. ambassador and Mr. Ganem, the consul general, plan to visit the Port of Savannah and Charlotte, North Carolina.
In addition to Georgia, the Brazilian consulate in Atlanta covers North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi.
The Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia is expanding to include those same states and is changing its name to the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce of the Southeast.
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