The Importance of Business & Economic Relationship between Florida and Brazil

Dodge Data & Analytics, a leading provider of data, analytics, news and intelligence covering the North American construction industry reported that construction starts surged 38 percent in South Florida in the first half of 2015, compared to the same period a year ago. That beat the national average increase of 13 percent. One factor that has been reported to be prevalent is the growth of the Brazilian community particularly from Orlando all the way down to South Florida. More than 300,000 Brazilians live in Florida and many, who enjoy the ‘Sunshine State’, have a second home here. But today’s reality is that an increasing number of Brazilians chose to do business in Florida. Why not, Florida is not only similar in terms of its tropical climate & cultural attributes, but it also offers a low tax, low cost, business friendly environment that’s easy to understand and penetrate. Some businesses chose to operate from accelerators such as Duvekot in Pompano Beach, which provides companies with office and warehouse space. Apex Brasil, a non-profit organization is another type of accelerator from the Brazilian Ministry of Development entrusted with the mission of promoting Brazilian products, services and investments. Then there are the larger investments such as Embraer headquartered in Fort Lauderdale for more than 30 years. Embraer which employs hundreds of people in Florida opened a production and sales facility in Melbourne where it is building its Phenom executive jets. Another Florida iconic public company led by Brazilian Chairman Alexandre Behring and owned by 3G Capital, a Brazilian private equity firm, is the global chain of hamburger fast food restaurants Burger King, headquartered in Miami. There seems to be a Brazilian wave of new restaurants and flavors coming to Florida with the recent North American expansion of Giraffas Kitchen & Grill, the Shrimp House, and gourmet food markets such as Big Chef expanding in Florida. Brazilian investors are making an impact on our sports industry with the acquisition of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers by Paulo Cesso, Rafael Bertani, Ricardo Geromel and Brazil soccer icon Ronaldo. Soccer is high on the agenda for millions of fans in the United States and worldwide. Sporting organizations and institutions hire world class athletes but they also need exceptional business professionals to manage their complex, often global business opportunities and the Strikers are contributing to our economy by creating an attractive, high wage, work environment for many residents. From the community support standpoint, the Brazilian Consulate served by Consul General Helio Vitor Ramos Filho, the Brazilian American Chamber of Commerce of Florida and the Brazilian Business Group (BBG) are very integrated and influential in the community thereby offering excellent opportunities for Brazilian business leaders to network throughout the State but also for Brazilians of all professions and creed to cross pollinate with other business organizations. Recently the Sao Paulo World Trade Center purchased the Fort Lauderdale World Trade Center (WTC) license and will now be encouraging more trade opportunities between the two countries. The Fort Lauderdale WTC will have its inaugural conference this coming September 5th at the Harbor Beach Marriott in Fort Lauderdale. A variety of Brazilian institutions have a presence in Florida this may be a good reason why Florida is a good location for vacationers but also for families and Brazilian businesses. Banco do Brasil Americas allows for easy money transfers between the two countries and offers services in Portuguese. Atlantica and Choice Atlantica Hotels are a recognized brand for tourists, Odebrecht Contruction, TAM Airlines have a strong presence and publications such as Gazeta Brazilian News and Linha Aberta only help to position Florida as the perfect home ‘away’ from home. The connectivity and partnership between Florida and the largest country in Latin America is furthermore enhanced by direct flights from Miami, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale to Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Manaus, Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza, Recife and Brasilia. Additional cities can be reached for those who don’t mind a stop in Panama City. Proximity, convenience and affordable fares may explain why South Florida appears to be the No. 1 gateway for Brazilian commerce and tourism. The large number of Brazilian visitors to places such as Sawgrass Mills, Disney World and the Florida Beaches is making a positive impact on Floridian communities. It is now easier than ever to get in a plane for a long weekend and people are taking advantage of it. Today, Brazil is the number one trading partner in South Florida with exports and imports that include aircraft parts, medicine, integrated circuits, computers or computer parts, cell phone equipment and food products. According to the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the total bilateral merchandise trade (exports & imports) was valued at 20.5 billion in 2013. Brazil’s increasing population, improving economic stability, diversity and rapid growth present clear opportunities for bilateral commerce and Brazilian expansion within the rest of the United States. With so many similarities in diversity and lifestyles, it’s probably safe to say that the Florida/Brazil partnership will continue to grow rapidly for years to come. As far as the simpler things in life, I would venture to say that the Strikers new leadership may very well take us to the final win! See you at the game. >>Pierre Taschereau, MBA, CWDP, is an International Client Manager for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance. Information about this article by email: ptaschereau@gflalliance.org or visit www.gflalliance.org or follow @AlainaGLevine.

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