The U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum - Press Release
U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum Joint Communique
October 3, 2020
Brasília and Washington – The 11th meeting of the Brazil-U.S. CEO Forum was held today simultaneously in Brasília and Washington, D.C., through videoconference, allowing both governments and private sector participants to discuss the progress made in areas identified as priorities within the joint recommendations presented in the last edition of the Forum, held in Washington, D.C., in November 2019.
The U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum currently comprises 18 CEOs from companies of a diverse set of industries in the United States and Brazil and is co-chaired, on the government side, by the Minister of the Civil Cabinet of the Presidency of Brazil, Walter Braga Netto; the Minister of Economy of Brazil, Paulo Guedes; the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross; and the U.S. National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow. Mr. Marco Stefanini, CEO and founder of Stefanini Group, is the Brazilian private sector co-chair, while his U.S. counterpart is Mr. Dow Wilson, CEO of Varian Medical Systems. Other government representatives, including the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Todd Chapman and Brazilian Ambassador to the United States Nestor Forster, also participated in discussions during the Forum.
At the plenary meeting, the government co-chairs (Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for International Economic Policy Nels Nordquist serving as proxy for Director Kudlow) recognized the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to both countries and reiterated their strong commitment to the strategic alliance between Brazil and the United States established by Presidents Bolsonaro and Trump and highlighted in Mar-a-Lago last March.
Recalling CEO recommendations from the November 2019 meeting, which included proposals to increase alignment in bilateral trade policies and regulation, infrastructure cooperation, collaboration in the technology sector and improvements in health, education, and workforce development, the CEOs led discussions by underscoring their recommendations with concrete examples and business cases that depict how their recommended actions impact directly on businesses active in both countries. In response, the government co-chairs shared the following progress made and planned next steps:
Regarding cross-cutting trade policy reforms, both governments emphasized technical progress made under the Brazil-U.S. Commercial Dialogue, which most recently convened last May, and the USTR-led Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation (ATEC), which was relaunched in 2019 and is on track to achieve concrete results in the areas of trade facilitation, good regulatory practices, and anticorruption. Of particular note was Secretary Ross’s stated next steps to advance regulatory cooperation across sectors, including through the new Inter-American Coalition for Regulatory Convergence for the Medical Technology Sector, and through digital sector workshops on emerging technologies like the internet-of-things.
Trade facilitation is a priority issue for both countries given the potential to reduce bureaucracy, cut costs and increase trade flows between Brazil and the United States. Both governments also highlighted the progress made and planned next steps on the Authorized Economic Operator Joint Workplan towards a mutual recognition agreement between Brazil and the United States. And Secretary Ross noted the continued and planned cooperation in implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.
Furthermore, Minister Guedes highlighted the importance of continued work on Good Regulatory Practices. In his view, the Brazilian interest in prioritizing negotiations under ATEC on the subject of regulatory practices reinforces its commitment to adopt efficient, less costly, and rational economic and regulatory mechanisms.
Participants discussed progress on the inclusion of Brazilian nationals in the Trusted Traveler Global Entry Program, which allows expedited clearance for pre-approved travelers upon arrival in the United States. Minister Braga Netto provided updates on concrete steps the Government of Brazil has taken in this area, including the publishing of a decree, last March, which establishes three phases for Global Entry implementation in Brazil and lists the roles of different agencies in this regard. The first phase, already finalized, included the first Brazilian participants, and the second phase will widen the scope of those able to participate in the program, as well as prepare for comprehensive availability in the third phase.
Minister Braga Netto reinforced Brazil’s commitment to enhance convergence with the policies of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), highlighting that Brazil has adhered to 91 OECD legal instruments, including in areas such as competition policy, consumer rights and agriculture, and that 51 requests for adherence to additional instruments are currently being considered by the Organization. The White House noted its commitment to supporting continued sectoral regulatory cooperation through new initiatives like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-Brazilian Ministry of Environment Memorandum of Understanding on urban environmental collaboration, as well as long-established programs like the U.S. Trade and Development Agency’s (USTDA) Global Procurement Initiative and the U.S.-Brazil Aviation Partnership.
Minister Guedes highlighted that, last March, the Ministry of Economy and the Department of Treasury signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) to strengthen investments in infrastructure and have already begun work, convening a strategy working group and a technical exchange on cost-benefit analysis. The White House added that the MOC was a critical component to its America Cresce strategy in the Western Hemisphere, and brings with it a whole-of-government approach across nine agencies, including the U.S. Export-Import Bank and Development Finance Corporation. Both governments also recognized the importance of a Bilateral Taxation treaty (BTT) between Brazil and the United States to promote and facilitate trade and investment.
Minister Braga Netto addressed the importance of deploying new telecommunication infrastructure to accelerate coverage expansion in Brazil. In this context, he highlighted the expected impact of recently approved legislation in Brazil which, in line with private sector suggestions, will reduce bureaucracy, accelerate terrestrial fiber expansion and facilitate the installation of telecommunications equipment and smalls cells, all of which are needed for the higher capacity density that 5G networks will demand. Meanwhile, Secretary Ross highlighted recent and future planned cooperation under the U.S.-Brazil Energy Forum and in the commercial space sector.
At the meeting, both governments emphasized their commitment to provide priority attention to the private sector’s recommendations as a way to foster mutually beneficial economic growth and prosperity. They also reiterated agreement on the relevance and value of bilateral mechanisms, such as the Commercial Dialogue, the ATEC, the Defense Industry Dialogue and the Energy Forum, which engage government counterparts on both sides.
The two governments confirmed their commitment to maintain close contact, on a regular basis and across agencies, to ensure that private sector recommendations are fully considered in policy decisions.