Last week Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank traveled to Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro  for the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum and other events aimed at strengthening the economic and commercial ties between the two nations.
The U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum was created in 2007 to bring private sector leaders from both countries together to develop joint recommendations on how to deepen our commercial ties, and to present those recommendations to the U.S. and Brazilian governments. The Forum has identified five areas as priorities: tax and trade issues; education and innovation; infrastructure; energy; and aviation.
Deputy Secretary Blank served as the U.S. Government’s co-chair for the CEO Forum along with Michael Froman, the Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs at the White House. They were joined by their Brazilian co-chairs, Minister of Development, Industry, and Foreign Trade Fernando Pimentel and Presidential Chief of Staff Gleisi Hoffman.
The meeting was led by about 20 CEOs from both countries, whose priorities for improving the economic and commercial relationship between Brazil and the U.S. set the agenda for the meeting. As one of the U.S. Government’s co-chairs, Deputy Secretary Blank gave an update to the members of the CEO Forum on the progress that the two governments made to implement the recommendations that the CEOs made at their previous meeting last year. The CEOs then led the main discussion and came up with several new recommendations  that will be formally released in the coming weeks, including:
- Calling upon the governments to take advantage of the momentum from the recently-approved Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) to take on additional tax issues that could eventually pave the way for a Bilateral Tax Treaty.
- Continuing to make progress on Brazil’s participation in the Global Entry Program, making it easier for Brazilians traveling to the United States on business to get through immigration at U.S. airports.
- Continuing efforts to increase cooperation in the area of infrastructure and take advantage of the U.S. infrastructure trade mission, scheduled for May, to create opportunities for U.S. and Brazilian companies to partner on infrastructure improvements.
- Continuing to cooperate on education and workforce development issues by supporting programs like President Obama’s “100,000 Strong in the Americas” initiative and Brazil’s “Scientific Mobility Program.”
- Building upon the work of the Strategic Energy Dialogue and involve the private sector in energy infrastructure and policy discussions.
- Building on cooperation between the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and Brazil’s National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) to engage in more formal worksharing efforts to support innovation.
- Continuing work begun under the Aviation Partnership Agreement to advance aviation cooperation and use the Aviation Partnership as a model for other sectors.
In Rio de Janeiro, Deputy Secretary Blank met with more business leaders and also delivered remarks  at a Columbia University event focused on innovation and economic development which was part of the launch of the university’s new Global Center in that city. She emphasized the importance of U.S.-Brazil collaboration in areas such as infrastructure development, clean energy, student exchanges, and more. Finally, she announced that U.S.-Brazil partnerships would continue to grow in the near future due to a high-level, infrastructure-focused trade mission  to Brazil – as well as Colombia and Panama – that will take place in mid-May.