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Canada-Brazil Forging Ahead With Economic Cooperation

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

15 August 2011

Economic relations between Canada and Brazil continue to improve, with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper declaring Brazil a "tremendously important part" of his government's plans for trade development in the Latin American region.

Harper was speaking as his visit to Brazil wound down earlier this week. He praised Brazil's "remarkable emergence as a global economic power" and stressed his government's intention visit Brazil again as it pursues its Americas Strategy. As Harper explained, his administration intends to develop closer relations with nations in the region, with particular emphasis on trade relations. He added, "Brazil, with all its vitality and its enterprising spirit, is a tremendously important part of our plans."

During his trip, the two sides inked air transport and social security agreements and announced the launch of the Canada-Brazil Strategic Partnership Dialogue, a new initiative that will serve as a forum between Canadian and Brazilian Ministers of Foreign Affairs. In addition, a CEO Forum is to be established, providing a platform for business leaders to expand commercial opportunities.

The co-chairs of the Forum have now been unveiled. Rick Waugh, president and CEO of Scotia Bank will represent Canada, an appointment Harper says will help strengthen bilateral economic relations. Brazil has selected Murilo Ferreira, President and CEO of Vale S.A. as its co-chair, bringing extensive experience to the Forum as the head of one of the world’s largest mining companies. According to Harper, the organisation will nurture already deep commercial ties.

Harper also took part in a roundtable discussion chaired by his Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway Ed Fast, where business leaders from major Canadian companies who conduct business in Brazil came together to discuss business prospects between the two countries. The government has since said that the roundtable provided a forum for it to hear of opportunities to expand bilateral economic ties.

Opportunities are seen as available in a broad range of sectors such as transport, information and communications technologies, oil and gas equipment and services, mining, financial services and education. In addition, Brazil was cited by numerous attendees as a strategic location for their global operations. Harper said of the talks that he attended to listen to and "seek the views of senior Canadian business people so that our Government can further support them as they build commercial relationships in Brazil. Increased opportunities in other markets, including Brazil, will translate into more jobs and a stronger economy for all Canadians.”

Trade reached CAD5.9bn between the two countries last year, with each accounting for a substantial portion of the others direct foreign investment. In 2010 Brazil was Canada’s eighth largest foreign investor with CAD13.5bn in cumulative investment; Brazil was the 11th largest recipient of Canadian direct investment abroad, a relationship worth CAD9.7bn.

TAGS: tax | investment | economics | business | mining | accounting | financial services | oil and gas | agreements | education | social security | Brazil | Canada | trade | individual income tax | services

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