Atlanta‘s bid for the Free Trade Area of the Americas would be strengthened if the city’s organizing committee better understood trade frictions between the United States and Brazil, said Claire McLeveighn, Atlanta’s director of international relations.  The two countries are to co-chair the November FTAA negotiations in Miami.

Currently, trade relations between the U.S. and Brazil, South America‘s leading economy and the hemisphere’s second-largest consumer market, remain strained and may delay creation of the FTAA until 2007, said Ms. McLeveign during a speech to the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia last week.

“As Brazil and the U.S. lead the final negotiations for the FTAA in November, it will be critical for us to understand the trade issues between the two countries,” Ms. McLeveighn noted. “And we hope the Brazilian chamber can help us.”

          In addition to providing trade information, the Brazilian chamber could introduce key government and businesspersons in Brazil to Hemisphere Inc.’s board of directors, which is composed of executives and city and state officials, she said.

Members of Hemisphere Inc., including David Bruce, the Brazilian Chamber’s chairman, and Tim Perry, Brazil’s honorary consul in Atlanta, will be traveling to Brazil and Chile in June to promote Atlanta as the best location for the FTAA headquarters. They will meet with members of the InterAmerican Economic Council in Brazil and members of the Organization of American States in Chile.

Brazil is already significant for Georgia, said Ms. McLeveign, with $500 million in state exports sold to Brazil each year.

“But to convince the Brazilian government to choose Atlanta when it votes for the FTAA headquarters, we will need Brazilian viewpoints to help formulate our marketing strategy,” she said. She added that any advice about Brazilian business etiquette or any business contacts that members of the Brazilian chamber could provide would be helpful.

Lucia Jennings, the Brazilian chamber’s current president, offered Ms. McLeveighn the chamber’s assistance in developing Atlanta’s Rio de Janeiro Sister City Committee to further the city’s FTAA bid efforts.

The Brazilian chamber is to elect new officers and members to its board of director on Tuesday, May 27. Advertising space is still available in the chamber’s Brazil-Georgia Resource Book.

Contact the chamber at (404) 880-1551. Contact Ms. McLeveighn at (404) 330-6024.