Business opportunities for Finnish innovative businesses in a recovering Brazilian economy
1. Economic outlook of Brazil today – and what are the prospects for the country?
Brazil is a strong and attractive global player for investors. The country has a privileged location, bordering 10 South American countries and with easy maritime access to other continents.
Brazil is the ninth largest economy in the world, offers diverse economic opportunities in a vast consumer market that comprises 209 million people. It is also the seventh biggest FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) recipient in the world and the first among Latin American nations.
After a period of recession, we are confident about the economic growth. With a more liberal economic agenda that prioritizes market opening, tax simplification, privatizations, and the pension reform, the new government expects to boost the employment rate and foreign investments.
2. Which kinds of business opportunities there are for Finnish companies in Brazil?
There are several Finnish companies doing business in Brazil in a variety of industries, such as energy, networks, pulp and paper, chemicals. This alone should be an example that Brazil is a country of extraordinary potential in many sectors. Considering the Finnish expertise in, for example cleantech, and the fact that it is still in its relatively early development stage in Brazil, this would be one of the areas with a lot of untapped potential. Furthermore, another area in which there is great potential for Finnish companies in Brazil is education. Finland has had success in its education export programs so there is no reason to believe it would not succeed in Brazil too.
3. If a Finnish company decides to invest in Brazil, what are the most important issues this enterprise must take into its consideration to succeed in the market?
I believe the first rule applies to any type of business and to any country: know the market. Companies that have identified an opportunity in Brazil through detailed studies will surely have a soft landing. And this study should include local legislation. It also makes things easier to have a good knowledge of Portuguese. There are of course some cultural differences between Nordic and Latin countries. This is something to take into account, but should not be considered an obstacle. In our experience, Finnish companies have done very well in Brazil.
4. Which kind of assistance and which kinds of benefits there are in Brazil for Finnish companies which would like to invest in Brazil?
The Brazilian Embassy in Helsinki has a commercial sector that can help by providing market information and guiding the entrepreneurs towards the right contacts. Moreover, the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, Apex-Brasil, can surely be of great help. Much like its Finnish counterpart Business Finland, it not only works to promote Brazilian products and services abroad, but also to attract foreign investments to multiple sectors of the Brazilian economy. Apex-Brasil can help by identifying business opportunities, promoting strategic events, and offering support to foreign investors interested in Brazil.
Brazil and Finland have a very positive relationship and have a series of cooperation agreements in areas such as aviation, defense, science and technology. In addition, Finnish entrepreneurs do not need a visa to enter Brazil for business trips lasting up to 90 days, which is also an advantage. Foreign companies interested in investing in Brazil can get tax incentives granted by the Brazilian government, and Brazil and Finland also have an agreement that limits double taxation.
5. Please, explain to us how Brazil has benefited from the free trade agreements.
Free trade agreements have been important for Brazil in expanding the reach of Brazilian products and facilitating trade with the elimination of barriers and reduction of bureaucracy. Among the agreements of which Brazil is a member, Mercosur is by far the most important. The bloc of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay represents the fifth largest economy in the world. In 2018, Brazil had a surplus of $ 7.5 million in Mercosur, so the importance of the bloc cannot be denied.
6. We know Brazil as a great holiday destination for Finns. Please, tell us more about the tourist attractions and holiday resorts in your country.
Brazil is a country with large territorial extension, therefore, the scenario changes in each region. If the goal is to enjoy the beach, it is worth visiting the Northeast, where the visitor will find breath-taking landscapes. The archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, in the state of Pernambuco, is an excellent option. Formed by 21 islands, islets and cliffs of volcanic origin, the archipelago is a Natural World Heritage Site and the main Brazilian marine park. Fernando de Noronha is also considered one of the best places in the world for diving, as its clear and warm waters provide great visibility.
For a different experience, Manaus is the perfect destination. The capital of the State of Amazonas is located in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. The visitor will be able to travel by boat and see the meeting of the waters of the rivers Negro and Solimões, try exotic dishes, dive with pink dolphins, and visit seaside resorts.
Another Heritage Site by Unesco, the city of Ouro Preto, in Minas Gerais, is known for its splendid Baroque architectural ensemble. The visitor will travel in time at the historic center, among chapels, fountains and alleys built in the 17th and 18th centuries. One of the most visited locations is the “Basílica de Nossa Senhora do Pilar”, which is decorated with 400 kilos of gold.
On the border between Brazil and Argentina, in the city of Foz do Iguaçu, the tourist can visit the magnificent Iguaçu National Park. Formed by 275 waterfalls, the park is also a World Heritage Property. The visitor in Foz do Iguaçu can as well check the Parque das Aves (Birds Park), which has more than 800 species of birds, such as macaws, toucans, parrots, and golden parakeets. Itaipu Hydroelectric Plant, the world’s leader in clean and renewable energy, is also located in Foz do Iguaçu.
H.E. Mr João Luiz Pereira Pinto, Ambassador of Brazil to Finland spoke at the Annual meeting of the Finnish Latin American Business Council on the theme Business opportunities for Finnish innovative businesses in a recovering Brazilian economy in Helsinki on 14th June 2019.