The Georgia-Brazil Business Summit held April 4 at the Carter Center underscored the relatively recent phenomenon of Brazilian companies setting up operations in Georgia, rather than inviting U.S. companies to invest in Brazil.
“Traditionally we haven’t thought about Brazilian companies as investing here, but their development in the last decade has moved some Brazilian firms to a larger scale, becoming worldwide, competitive global players,” said David Bruce, chairman of the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce in Atlanta, which was an organizer of the event.
“Brazilian companies are now, in fact, multinational companies, and they are looking to Georgia,” he told GlobalFax.
Two Brazilian electronic motor manufacturers, Weg Electric Motors and Embraco North America Inc., for example, are finding Georgia to be an ideal logistics center for servicing their worldwide operations, according to the companies’ representatives who spoke at summit.
Another Brazilian company featured at the summit, Gerdau Steel, recently bought a steel mill in Cartersville. Dr. Bruce pointed out that it was interesting that a Brazilian firm has avoided the controversial steel tariff issue by setting up shop in Georgia.
Recent U.S. tariff hikes on steel have angered many countries exporting steel to the United States. The issue has been a major point of contention for Brazil, even tainting discussions of its participation in the proposed Free Trade Area of Americas.
“But whatever is happening at a national level, Brazilian companies are saying they just need to move forward. If we can’t beat ‘em join ‘em seems to be their motto,” Dr. Bruce noted. He said the reverse was true some years ago, when U.S. companies were setting up in Brazil because Brazilian tariffs on imports were high.
The strong turnout at the April 4 summit also showed Georgia’s interest in Brazil as an attractive emerging market and a top choice for foreign investment, according to Dr. Bruce. He added that despite the global economic slowdown and Sept. 11, Brazilian attendance at the annual summit was just as large as in previous years.
Contact Dr. Bruce at (404) 463-9415. Visit www.bacc-ga.com for more information.