The Sunshine Economy: Brazil & South Florida
This week was supposed to bring together the leaders of the largest and sixth-largest economies in the world. Brazil President Dilma Rousseff had been scheduled to make an official state visit to the White House but she called off the trip after it was revealed that the U.S. National Security Administration intercepted emails and telephone calls between herself, her staff and the Brazilian state energy company Petrobras.
Trade had been on the agenda and that's important to South Florida. Brazil is the largest foreign trading partner with the Miami Customs district. While overall the United States has a trade deficit with the world (meaning America imports more foreign goods than what we ship overseas), we have a trade surplus with Brazil.
On Monday's Sunshine Economy: Brazil and South Florida, we explore the ties that bind our region with Brazil, as well as the challenges and opportunities.
We discuss the Brazilian politics of President Rousseff's decision to cancel her trip and the longer term economic consequences with NPR South America correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
PortMiami is an important gauge of relationships between Brazil and the U.S. Twenty one cents of every $1 in trade between the two countries flows through the Miami Customs district.
PortMiami is investing in upgrades to handle the new Super-Post Panamex container ships, which involved Odebrecht USA building almost one mile of new sea walls for the wharfs. Its parent company is Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht. We tour the port's new sea walls with Odebrecht USA CEO Gilberto Neves.
South Florida real estate would probably not be recovering as quickly as it is without Brazilian investors and buyers. Elite International Realty realtor Uiane Lim has been working with Brazilian real estate buyers since she came to South Florida in the early 1990s. She's working with management consultant Brasil Geraldo Filho, who is building a new home in Aventura for when he retires from his job in Rio de Janeiro and begins post-doctoral studies at FIU.
The job of Carlos Mariaca is to help connect Brazilian and American business as president of the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce of Florida. Brazilian entrepreneurs are expanding into the U.S. through South Florida and American businesses like CQS, an Internet customer acquisition company headed by William Nobrega from Boca Raton, are discovering their own opportunities in Brazil as the country's economy matures.
For years, the languages of commerce in South Florida have been Spanish and English. Increasingly, the Miami Herald's Karen Rundlet has found a growing use of Portuguese in more and more showrooms and boardrooms.