BILATERAL RELATIONS AFTER COVID-19: BRAZIL AND AUSTRALIA DISCUSS OPPORTUNITIES.
Brazil needs to work on economic reforms to increase business with Australians. That is the conclusion of Greg Wallis, Consul-General and Senior Trade Commissioner of Austrade Brazil, who participated on the Australia Brazil Business Council B-Talks, on May 7. Wallis was part of a panel that included the Ambassador of Brazil in Canberra, Sergio Moreira Lima, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) First Secretary, Dougal McInnes.
In order to improve bilateral relationships, Greg Wallis said that Australian companies need to recognize that Brazil is an important market in terms of diversification. “China and India are not the only players in town. Brazil needs to be there too, and it’s up to Australia to promote opportunities”.
However, he added that Brazil needs to become a more competitive environment, promoting the reforms that will make the country rise up in global business ranks. “It’s hard to convince an Australian company to establish in Brazil if they look at the statistics and see that Brazil is 124 in the world and Malaysia is 12. Those things matter and there is work to do on both sides”.
During the first 2020 B.Talks online edition – with the theme “Covid-19 and its impact on the bilateral relationship between Australia and Brazil” – Wallis commented on four potential profitable areas of investment for Australian companies in Brazil:
- Agribusiness and Agtech– Agribusiness in Brazil represents 22% of the GDP, while in Australia it is 2%-3%. The beef cattle herd in Brazil is 8 times bigger than in Australia. “We are very proud of our agribusiness in Australia as it is a very innovative, efficient and a high quality industry, but Brazil is in another level in terms of scale. Agriculture is a big business and it offers many opportunities to Australians”.
There are around 1000 companies in the agtech sector in Brazil. “Brazil welcomes foreign players, especially when the companies are focused on what Brazil needs. Australian companies are welcome to participate in technology hubs, like the one in Piracicabe”
- Health and medical technology – The Brazilian government has recently authorised the use of telemedicine practices, which is opening the market for digital health opportunities. “Anything that involves remote record management, real time patient monitoring, service to rural areas (which Australia has expertise) as well as the exporting of medical devices has potential”, said Wallis.
- Resources sector– According to Austrade, there’s a lot of opportunities for companies that can provide technology solutions and automation to increase yields, to maximise the use of technology and to deliver safety, including the METS sector: mining, equipment, technology and services. “I advise Australian companies to have another look in Brazil. The moment will come again fairly soon when the sector will be relevant for Australian businesses”.
- Education– 27000 Brazilian students come to Australia every year, the 5thlargest contingent of foreign students in the country. “That is a very important sector to Australia”.
The First Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Dougal McInnes, announced that Brazil and Australia are finalising the Working Holiday Visa Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which will be an incentive for Brazilians to travel to and work in Australia. “30000 Brazilians live in Australia and we need to nurture and grow these numbers”, said McInnes.
Australia and Brazil are finalizing the Working Holiday Visa Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which will be an incentive for Brazilians to travel and to work in Australia.
He also declared that Brazil and Australia have been negotiating fishery subsidies, e-commerce deals and domestic services regulations. “These are critical elements to enhance our bilateral relations”.
The Brazilian Ambassador in Australia, Sergio Moreira Lima, emphasized the importance of a free trade agreement to promote business between both countries. “The answer to Covid-19 should not be protectionism, trade restrictions, export controls, but free trade, international investments and coordination within the nations”. He also said that a direct flight connecting both countries is needed and it will bring a new dimension to bilateral relations.
The answer to Covid-19 should not be protectionism, trade restrictions, export controls, but free trade, international investments and coordination within the nations
The Ambassador is also working to bring Embraer – the Brazilian aerospace conglomerate that produces commercial, military, executive and agricultural aircraft and provides aeronautical services – back to Australia. “The presence of Embraer here is important to link Brazil to Australia and also the Pacific region”. Marking 75 years of diplomatic relations between Australia and Brazil, Moreira Lima also celebrated the Brazilian-Australian collaboration in Defense.
B.Talks” is a series of events created by the Australia Brazil Business Council where participants have the opportunity to listen and interact in an insightful Talk with experts and authorities in the relevant Fields of international trade. The B. Talks May Edition was moderated by AUBRBC President, Gleuto Serafim.
Click here to watch the full webinar.
By Liz Lacerda, Foreign Correspondent
* This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily the Australia Brazil Business Council organization, the organiser’s committee or other group or individual.