The CEOE International CEO, Narciso Casado, opened a round table on business opportunities in Brazil, especially in the areas of the green economy and infrastructure. This panel is part of the first virtual Regional Business Meeting Spain – Brazil, Chile and Ecuador, organized by ICEX Spain Export and Investments, in collaboration with CEOE and the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, with the aim of bringing Spanish companies closer to the reality of each of these markets and the business opportunities that, despite the circumstances arising from Covid-19, continue to exist in these countries. Prior to the tables, the Secretary of State for Commerce, Xiana Méndez, held a colloquial talk with the Economic and Commercial advisers of these countries, to show the panorama of each one of them during and after the pandemic.
Casado highlighted the great work carried out by the ICEX leading this initiative, as it represents an excellent example of public-private collaboration, good relations and the commitment that all agents have to help companies in their internationalization process in the post environment. -COVID-19. "Brazil constitutes for our business interests a strategic market of great importance, with which we also maintain an excellent bilateral relationship both at an institutional level and in the economic and commercial sphere," he stressed.
In this sense, he emphasized the long history of meetings that have been organized within the framework of the tripartite in recent months, among which the Spain-Brazil Business Meeting held in December 2019 in Rio de Janeiro, within the framework of the trip of work of the Secretary of State of Commerce of Spain, Xiana Méndez; the institutional breakfast held at CEOE on February 27, 2020, on the occasion of the visit to Spain of the President of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia; or more recently, the webinar with the Economic and Commercial Offices of Spain in Brasilia and Sao Paulo on May 13.
This collaboration, he reported, in the case of CEOE is expanded through the Permanent Secretariat in the Council of Ibero-American Entrepreneurs (CEIB), an institution that brings together the 24 most important business organizations in all of Ibero-America and the Brazilian business association, the National Confederation of Industries (CNI). In fact, on September 14, 2020 CEIB actively collaborated in the Forum “Ibero-American Dialogue – Thinking about SMEs first”, organized by the CNI, SEGIB, CEIB and SEBRAE, with the support of the Brazilian Ministry of Economy. During the same, the public promotion policies available to Ibero-American MSMEs to deal with the post-COVID recovery were analyzed.
It was an important event, he said, since it is part of the mandates that emanate from the Ibero-American Summits of Heads of State and Government and that, as a follow-up, the annual celebration of the Ibero-American MIPYME Forum, whose fourth edition had scheduled to take place in April 2020 in Brasilia and had to be postponed as a result of the pandemic.
Casado highlighted the importance of this first round table on business opportunities in Brazil, focused on the existing opportunities in the infrastructure and green economy sector (water and sanitation, renewable energy and the environment), since they are sectors of great interest to Spanish companies.
Brazil's economic situation and forecasts for 2021
The Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Economy of Brazil, Marcelo dos Guaranys, reported that the Government has launched the program Pro-Brazil, focused on the post-covid economic recovery and focused on favoring the business climate for investment, which includes 166 projects to promote job creation and modernization of the Brazilian economy. The ravages of the pandemic, he stressed, began at the end of February, with very serious economic effects, which led to the paralysis of production and consumption. For this reason, he explained, public programs were launched for the population, especially the most vulnerable, and in many cases, in an informal situation. They also worked from the Government, he stressed, in social protection programs to help the most affected groups. Dos Guaranys advocated improving taxation in the country, as well as social protection and employability so that companies continue hiring. It also bet on the importance of sanitation, thus achieving better services for the population. On the other hand, "security in the investment framework is very important to attract foreign investors, making them feel more comfortable and confident," he concluded.
The special secretary of the Pacerias de Investimentos Program (PPI) of the Ministry of Economy of Brazil, Martha Seillier, spoke about the Opportunities for Spanish investments in the PPI project portfolio. In this sense, he explained that this program works as a hub for investors, with well-structured projects, through transparency and dialogue, as well as the strengthening of legal, regulatory and technical frameworks. Seillier reported that 339 projects have been qualified, 184 have been executed and investments amount to 142.4 million dollars. The projects in the second half of 2020, he pointed out, were concentrated on the highways; railways: ports and fishing terminals; and in electrical energy, with increasingly sustainable initiatives.
The World Bank's leader in Infrastructure and Water, Luis Andrés, offered the perspective that the Bank has in relation to this sector. Among the priorities contemplated for sanitation, the increase in water access and coverage prevails, since the average losses amount to 38%, a parameter, in his opinion, quite high. "Human beings need water and hygiene to help prevent diseases such as Covid," he said. In fact, he continued, in Brazil there are currently 40 million people who do not have access to drinking water and more than 100 million do not have wastewater collection. For this reason, he considered urgent an improvement in the infrastructures to rescue tourism and the valuation of real estate. Luis Andrés reported that the new legal framework could reduce risks and costs in this area, and generate numerous opportunities for the private sector.
André Oliveira de Araújo, the national manager of De-stabilization, Associations and Special Services of Caixa Econômica Federal, indicated that the Bank helps the State in the implementation of public policies and that the Public-Private Partnerships Program that has been launched focuses in concession projects. I also assure that this initiative aims to give more quality to public services, attract private capital, help reduce diseases, promote the local economy, generate more employment and obtain more income, offer quality to projects and increase sustainability in all they. Oliveira de Araújo, explained that, thanks to this program, 11 million people have been assisted in 44 localities, and projects have been carried out focused on sanitation, drainage, public lighting and urban solid waste. In 2021, he announced, 56 new projects are planned for lighting, 23 for solid waste, 12 for sanitation and two pilot projects for juvenile correctional facilities. It is expected to serve, he said, 28 million people with 117 projects in 476 counties.
The Superintendent of Sustainability of Banco Santander, Karine Bueno, reported that Santander and two other private banks in Brazil recently signed a plan to stimulate the local economy with green financing lines, and promote the sustainable development of the Amazon. This alliance, he added, establishes a protocol aimed at preserving this corner of the planet. From their scope of activity, he stressed, these entities provide green financial actions that are committed to sustainability and respect for nature. Bueno explained that the plan includes ten measures established on three fronts: the conservation of the environment and the development of the bioeconomy, investment in sustainable infrastructure and the guarantee of the basic rights of the population of the Amazon region. On the other hand, he assured that they have established 225 wind farms in the country and pointed out that they are pioneers in the management of solar energy. Finally, he insisted on the importance of simplifying the legal framework in the infrastructure and sanitation sector, in order to develop many more initiatives.