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Remarks at U.S.-Brazil, CEO Forum, Denver, Colorado

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Monday, July 19, 2010

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Commerce Secretary Gary Locke
Remarks at U.S.-Brazil, CEO Forum, Denver, Colorado

Good morning everyone.

We are here today for the fifth meeting of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum, which has helped propel the growing commercial relationship between our countries.

As a result of the Forum’s work, we have seen very strong progress in a number of areas, including:

  • visa reform;
  • aviation liberalization; and
  • the beginning steps toward a bilateral tax treaty.

Clearly, the Forum’s joint recommendations have helped us move forward on some difficult issues. 

But there is much more to be done. 

Our fifth meeting is critical as we set the tone for what both governments hope to be a strengthened relationship marked by an active bilateral commercial agenda. 

We have a full program this morning with updates by Minister Jorge and Michael Froman. 

For my part, there are a number of issues that I want to highlight:

The first is innovation, which holds the key to both Brazil and the United States delivering the new products and services that are indispensable to economic growth.

The Department of Commerce and the Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign trade are working closely to develop an innovation-focused agenda under the U.S.-Brazil Commercial Dialogue which will include a wide variety of topics such as:

  • green technology;
  • intelligent transportation standards; and
  • customs modernizatio

And I am pleased to sign the Innovation annex to the Commercial Dialogue to institutionalize the role of innovation in our discussions.

Today, I'm looking forward to discussing some of the important issues that serve as building blocks for innovation, like infrastructure and education.

The United States is promoting the development of infrastructure projects in Brazil by sharing expertise and increasing awareness of commercial opportunities among the U.S. business community.

The United States believes that Brazil can take a number of steps so that it can attract the substantial private sector investment that it desires, including:

  • Regulatory transparency and predictability that lowers investment risk; 
  • A high-standard bilateral investment treaty with robust investor-state provisions. And, 
  • A bilateral tax treaty would also increase after-tax returns to investors 

Of course, one of the most important areas for infrastructure cooperation between our two countries is aviation

The CEO Forum’s attention to the civil aviation talks in 2008 was instrumental in liberalizing the number of passenger flights between the U.S. and Brazil by nearly 50 percent. 

The U.S. Government would like to like to cooperate more closely with Brazil on aviation.  We have proposed creating an Aviation Cooperation Program that would include the governments and representatives of the private sector of both countries. 

Additionally, we would like to explore holding a U.S.-Brazil Aviation Summit to take place in Brazil next summer.  We would welcome the support of the CEO Forum.

Yet another critical building block of innovation is education.

And the United States applauds the joint recommendation of the Forum concerning the corporate social responsibility initiative regarding the education tax credit, which would incentivize the private sector in Brazil to fund education.

I understand you met yesterday with our U.S. and Brazilian Ambassadors to discuss the role of education and the critical role it plays in trade.  And we’re looking forward to hearing how the discussion went and your recommendations.

Today, I hope we will also be talking about some quite substantial accomplishments in the U.S.-Brazil relationship.

I am also very pleased to see that the efforts of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum have made it easier for travelers to more easily travel and collaborate between our borders.

And we applaud the Brazilian government for passing legislation extending visa validity from five to ten years.

I'm also happy to see that progress is continuing to be made on customs facilitation, an issue that the United States and Brazil have a shared interest in and an area where we already work cooperatively through the CEO forum.

The Commerce Department recently hosted a Brazilian delegation focused on customs clearances for express packages. 

And we’re looking forward to hearing about Brazil’s plans to eliminate customs-related restrictions which limit the ability of express delivery companies to operate in Brazil.

Our Commercial Dialogue teams have proposed a Customs-Private Sector Partnership Workshop for April 2011, which could serve as an important next step in this process in this collaboration.

Finally, there is the growing cooperation between Brazil and the United States on assisting other countries that face immense developmental challenges.

Secretary Clinton and Minister Amorim have signed an MOU on third-country cooperation that highlights the increased interest Brazil and the United States have in expanding work together to foster economic development, improved health care, and increase social inclusion in countries that face the greatest poverty challenges, particularly in Africa and Latin America.

We obviously have a full plate today.  And I'm looking forward to discussing all these issues after the presentations of my colleagues and a briefing on the results of the CEO working session. 

And now let me turn the program over to Minister Jorge.