Brazil is the largest of the Latin American countries, covering nearly half, 47.3% of the continent of South America and shares common boundaries with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador.
Brazil declared independence from Portugal on September 7, 1822, maintaining a monarchical system of government until the abolition of slavery in 1888 and the subsequent proclamation of a republic by the military in 1889. Brazilian coffee exporters politically dominated the country until populist leader Getulio Vargas took power in 1930. Underwent more than half a century of populist and military government until 1985, when the military regime peacefully ceded power to civilian rulers. Brazil continues to pursue industrial and agricultural growth and development of its interior. Exploiting vast natural resources and a large labor pool, it is today South America's leading economic power and a regional leader, one of the first in the area to begin an economic recovery.
Brazil has long been the source of important natural resources such as timber, sugar and coffee. The culture is a thriving fusion of Portuguese, African and indigenous Indian influences, all of which have left their mark on Brazilian society resulting in a rich, distinct culture. Brazilian culture is known for its hospitality, openness and colorful events such as Carnival. As Catholicism is the predominant religion in Brazil, many of these events have a strong Catholic influence. The diversity of Brazilian society is further emphasized by the prevalent class differences which permeate almost every aspect of society. Understanding the diversity of Brazilian society and the unique values and attitudes of its citizens will help you develop better relationships and successful business.
Characterized by large and well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors, Brazil's economy outweighs that of all other South American countries and Brazil is expanding its presence in world markets. Since 2003, Brazil has steadily improved macroeconomic stability, building up foreign reserves, reducing its debt profile by shifting its debt burden toward real denominated and domestically held instruments, adhering to an inflation target, and committing to fiscal responsibility. In 2008, Brazil became a net external creditor and two ratings agencies awarded investment grade status to its debt. After record growth in 2007 and 2008, the onset of the global financial crisis hit Brazil in September 2008. Brazil's currency and its stock market - Bovespa - saw large swings as foreign investors pulled resources out of Brazil. Brazil experienced two quarters of recession, as global demand for Brazil's commodity-based exports dwindled and external credit dried up. However, Brazil was one of the first emerging markets to begin a recovery. Consumer and investor confidence revived and GDP growth returned to positive in the second quarter, 2009. Brazil's government is maintaining its projection for the country's 2010 economic growth at 6.5%.
The last decade has seen Brazil open up its economy to foreign markets and investment making it the fifth largest economy in the world. Recognized as the largest economy in Latin America, Brazil also benefits from its position as the gateway to the lucrative Mercosur market. Mercosur Trade Agreement consists of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela as members, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru as associate members, and Mexico has expressed interested in participating as well. The collective GDP is $2.87 trillion dollars and a consumer market of over 393 million people.
Brazil has a great territorial extension and an increasing economic relevance in the world and has countless investment opportunities on several dependant sectors, including logistics, agribusiness, industry, technology, construction and infrastructure.
Brazil’s transport infrastructure is characterized by strong regional differences. Several well-built highways are available in the economically powerful southwest and south.
The Brazilian Government has proposed investment in large projects to improve transportation infrastructure in the country’s Center-West and North regions. The lack of transport means almost all production travels up to 2000 km on poorly maintained roads to port at a cost of about $100 a tone compared with about $30 in the US. (source http://www.ft.com).
Transportation using waterway systems, considered to be the most economical method for the shipment of bulk volumes. The ports of Santos (the largest in Latin America) in the state of São Paulo and Paranaguá in the state of Paraná are the preferred embarkation points. Other very good alternative ports include, São Francisco do Sul, Itajaí and Navegantes in the state of Santa Catarina. The highway freight market is not under government control, meaning that freight prices are formed through free negotiation determined by supply and demand for the transport service. (Source: IADB)
ANAC (Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil) is the Brazilian agency responsible for the regulation and the safety oversight of civil aviation. The agency is subordinated to the President of Brazil, and is linked, operationally and budgetarily, to the Ministry of Defense. Infraero operates 67 airports, 81 Air Navigation Stations and 32 International Freight Terminals, which account for 97% of the regular air traffic in Brazil.
The vast majority of the population lives in cities near the coast. Regional characteristics and major cities include:
1. Northern Brazil—Home of the Amazon rainforest, this region hosts an estimated 33-percent of the world’s living species. Although sparsely populated compared to other regions, Northern Brazil does include Manaus with 1.4 million people and Belem with 1.2 million. The production of latex and other plant derived compounds, iron ore, energy production, tourism and electronics manufacturing drive the local economy.
2. Northeastern Brazil—Anchored by Salvador, a coastal city of almost 3 million people, Northeastern Brazil enjoys the distinction of being the early capital of Portuguese South America. Near the equator, Fortaleza with 2.5 million, offers culture and is a short drive from uncrowded beach villages. Natal was a major center of U.S. military operations during World War II and continues to have a U.S. military presence. Recife has 1.5 million people and is part of the Atlantic Coast Zona da Mata or coastal rainforest. Northeastern Brazil’s economy is based on coffee, sugar cane, livestock, manufacturing and textiles.
3. Central Brazil—This inland area holds Brasilia, the nation’s capital with 2 million inhabitants. The weather is hot and mostly dry, and the economy depends largely on the cattle that graze the prairies and soybeans that grow in more temperate corners.
4. Southeastern Brazil—Rio de Janeiro, with 5.8 million people, attracts thousands of tourists to the annual Carnival celebration. But Sao Paulo in the Southeast ranks as Brazil’s largest city with more than 10 million inhabitants. The area is a transportation hub and a commercial center for banking, tourism, manufacturing, coffee, sugar cane, fruit, textiles, petroleum and other industries. Southeastern Brazil is both the most populous region in the country and the region that contributes more than half the county’s gross national product.
5. Southern Brazil—Anchored by Curitiba, a city of 1.8 million that serves as the gateway to the MERCOSUR. Southern Brazil boasts a high standard of living, well-developed infrastructure and diverse economy. Textiles, tourism, information technology, fruit orchards, automotive companies and machinery fabrication all contribute to the gross product of the region.
A strong diversified economy and unique culture make doing business in Brazil an exciting but often challenging endeavor. Understanding Brazilian business culture and etiquette is therefore essential for successfully doing business in Brazil.
Cold calls are even less accepted in Brazil, where introduction is the key for a successful business development. Appointments may be cancelled at the last moment without warning. To make the most of your business travel make sure your appointments are set and confirmed by a native that not only speaks fluent Portuguese but has well established existing strong relationships in place already and ability to develop new ones as this will be tested and may be the means of getting or not that important meeting. Make sure you schedule extra time in between meetings to allow for any additional delays in meetings and traffic.
Expect to be interrupted. The Brazilian method of communication usually entails a lot of overlapping speech and people are not afraid to say what they think.
A true Brazilian loves to socialize; this is often done over lunches or other activities outside the office environment.
Although Brazilian culture tends to be relatively informal, Brazilians are quite fashion conscious. It is important therefore to dress smartly and conservatively.
Handshakes are the most common form of greeting between business colleagues. In more informal situations, women will tend to greet with a kiss on either cheek.
When you meet someone for the first time, it is polite to say ‘muito prazer’ (‘my
pleasure’). Although it is polite to address Brazilians using their title and surname at the first meeting, once you know them, it is common to use just first names, or their title followed by their first name.
Hiring a middleman to help you in your business dealings in Brazil is a wise decision to save time and money. This middleman will help you navigate Brazilian bureaucracy nominal fee.
"SIS4Biz can be your middle man; it can be on the driver seat or as navigator only, helping through planning,
execution and implementation of projects in Brazil and Latin America”