Guest blog post by Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale , Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services, International Trade Administration
“It’s Brazil’s Time!” I still can hear the clarion call of Rick Fedrizzi, President of the U.S. Green Building Council, from his opening speech during the Green Building Conference Brasil in São Paulo last week. I was in Brazil to foster expanded commercial ties between Brazilian and American firms in the green building and energy sectors and advance the objectives of the U.S.-Brazil Strategic Energy Dialogue . For a portion of the trip, I accompanied 14 companies participating in the Department of Commerce-certified, Brazil-U.S. Business Council -organized Trade Mission. These are innovative and forward-thinking small and medium companies interested and ready to export green building products to Brazil.
Fedrizzi also pointed out that Brazil was among the top five countries for LEED certifications, so there is definitely a market opportunity for these companies. It also helps that financing is available for construction of buildings designed to LEED specifications. Brazil is rushing to get ready for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.
The president’s trip to Brazil earlier this year laid the groundwork for wider U.S. participation in Brazil’s rapidly growing green energy sector. I was excited to be able to participate with the companies as they are primed to take advantage of these incredible opportunities in the Brazilian market, especially the green building sector. This is a priority area for the President’s National Export Initiative, not only because it can generate new sales for American industry but also because it is a powerful way to grow green jobs in the United States. U.S. goods exports to Brazil in 2010 were $35.4 billion, up 36 percent from 2009. In 2010, Brazil was the eighth-largest export market for U.S. goods.
The trade mission was organized under the International Trade Administration’s Market Development Cooperator Program  (MDCP). The “Export Green: Growing SME Exports to Brazil ” project was launched last November between the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber Foundation, and is executed by the U.S. Chamber’s Brazil-U.S. Business Council and TradeRoots. This is an outstanding example of how public-private partnerships can work to develop overseas markets for America’s most innovative companies..
The MDCP develops, maintains, and expands foreign markets for nonagricultural goods and services produced in the United States. On average, for every $1,000 invested in MDCP partnerships, $125,000 in exports is generated.
I was also fortunate to visit Brasilia, where I met with several key Brazilian government officials, and Rio, where I highlighted the achievements of the U.S. green building sector at the Rio Green Building Conference. and spoke at Windpower Brazil 2011.
Everywhere I went in Brazil, I was impressed by the dynamism and energy of the people. I can see why we have already strong economic ties with Brazil, but I hope we can continue to bring together Brazilian buyers and U.S. green technology. In fact, we aren’t wasting much time–the Export Green project has recruited a delegation of Brazilian companies for RETECH (Renewable Energy Technology Conference and Expo) later this month in Washington, D.C. If you are a company attending RETECH, be sure to “make time” for them!