The United States of America and Brazil, two countries that I love. The USA, the country of my birth, and Brazil, the country where I spend half of my time and the birth country of my lovely wife. What will the relationship between these two countries be like in the year 2013 and beyond? There is great potential for successful business partnerships, cultural and educational exchange programs and political good will between these two countries, but up until now, they just have not been able to figure each other out. One reason is the difficulty for both countries to realize that each nation has changed significantly over the last twenty years.
In the United States, for example, it has never been more difficult to describe the “typical” American. America has never been more of a melting pot than it is today and the power bases in business, academia, and politics have begun to shift and become more diverse. Never have there been more minority and women business owners and executives. The number of minorities in American universities is at an all-time high. In the year 2014, minorities will be the majority in the state of California and other states populations are also moving in this direction. This fact is giving American minorities a power at the ballot box never before seen in the history of American politics. And, of course, the most visible example of change in the US is the multicultural president who is going into his 5th year of leading the country.
Brazil has also experienced significant change over the last several years. Poverty is at an all-time low. The middle class is growing and consuming and there is no turning back. The unemployment rate (5.5%) is the lowest in years. Interest rates are the lowest they’ve ever been and thus increasing access to capital. Brazilian corporations are investing and acquiring businesses all over the world including in the United States. Brazil has become a true international player with the Brazilian government now giving financial support to the countries of Europe and to the US and by leading the United Nations’ security forces in Haiti for the last seven years. Over the next several years Brazil will be ground zero for the international sporting community by hosting the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. And, of course, the people of Brazil provided a powerful example of changing times by electing the first female president of the country in 2012.
Both the US and Brazil still have many areas where improvement is needed, the US with its struggling economy and Brazil with its need for more infrastructure development, for example. A mutual understanding of how each country has changed and is changing will help the countries to come together, which will be beneficial to both. Increasing business partnerships and collaborations, academic and cultural exchange programs, and a mutual softening on visa requirements between the two countries are important components to start strengthening this relationship.
As these academic, cultural, business and political collaborations increase, there will be a strengthening trust between the two nations. A climate of partnership and trust between Brazil and the US will attract more business and investment to both countries. There is always risk involved in any international business endeavor. Companies will often hire consulting firms like The Interamerica Group to help mitigate that risk.