Posts Tagged ‘brasil’

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my $.02 on Rio2016

Monday 22 August, 2016

Now that the Rio2016 Olympics are done & the Olympians & fans are heading home, it’s time to reflect on how it worked out for Rio de Janeiro. When I arrived in Rio a year ago, the prognostications were not good. The Globo newspaper media empire spelled out 5 Grand (large) Obstacles:

  1. Metro/subway-the new subway line which was being built to provide transportation to & from the Olympic park was planned for completion only a month before the games were to begin, a small window to correct problems, if required. Then a few months ago, that window was further reduced to just 5 days before the Olympics start, making any last minute changes of any consequence impossible. Remarkably, the subway opened, took passengers to the events, & was little problem @ all.
  2. H2O-much has been made of the quality of the water in the lagoon and Guanabarra Bay where the rowing & sailing events were held, respectively. The goal was to clean 80% of the water by the time the games begin, but sanitation only advanced to clean 50% of the waste being dumped into the water supply. That’s much more than was in the past, but short of the goal of 80%. I only read of 1 Belgian Olympic sailor who became ill after falling in & possibly ingesting some water, hardly an epidemic, & arguably within statistical norms. While the water quality is still @ an unacceptable level, it didn’t result in any calamities @ the Olympics.
  3. 4, & 5 Stadia for cycling, rowing, & track & field: were behind schedule, but completed on time without incident.

Since that article was published, a few other issues arose which impacted Rio2016 significantly:

  • zika virus: despite not rising to the levels of recent past epidemics & being out-of-season by the time the Olympics arrived, zika was deemed a threat to the health of all who dared to come to Brazil to watch the games live. There was no outbreak & zika seemed to be a non-issue during the games.
  • political crisis: President Dilma Rousseff was impeached, which created lots of political stability & the threat of uprisings, etc. during the Olympics. While Brazil will continue to be in a holding pattern until a new president is elected in 2018, there have been no major repercussions from this calamity.
  • economic crisis: as a result of the political crisis, Brazil’s economy has taken a nose dive, as indicated by a fall in the currency, the Real, of 30% in 6 months, from R$3.2/US$ to R$4.1/$US. investment has fallen, & unemployment has spiked. This made financing the completion of the projects for the games questionable, but again, all venues were completed on time.

True to form, the Brazilians pulled it off, by cramming @ the last minute, but they got it done.  The question is “What will be the long-term outcome of the Rio2016 Olympic games?”  Will Rio become another economic success propelled by the Olympics, like Barcelona & Seoul, or create a lot of white elephants, as in Beijing or Montreal, or even worse, lead to an economic downfall, as has been hypothesized about Athens, Greece.  London took the Olympic opportunity to rehabilitate an underdeveloped part of town to rejuvenate it & make that area a desirable place to live.  When I lived in Munich, they left the Olympic housing as residences for college students.  Rio will leave a different legacy.  While the subway extension & rejuvenation of the Praca Maua port area will benefit all of the population, the Olympic village is being converted into luxury condominiums for sale to the highest bidder.  Many of the venues were temporary structures, probably being deconstructed already as we speak.  The economic development organization of the Rio city government, Rio Negocios, held a series of events highlighting different industries in & around Rio, but I think they were probably disappointed with the international level of interest in their events.  The aftermath of the 2014 World Cup does not bode well.  New stadia now stand empty & a number of infrastructure projects were never completed, in some cases creating risks with what does remain.

I enjoyed being in Rio while the games were taking place: see pix:

…& I hope that Rio recognizes many positive benefits as a result of hosting the games.  I’m just skeptical that enough change will have taken place for the rest of the world to appreciate what a beautiful place this can be.

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world trade (center?) illinois is back & another new chamber in town

Friday 20 August, 2010

Last night I attended this Global Business Card Exchange hosted by a rejuvenated World Trade (Center?) Illinois & new Brazilian American Chamber of Commerce of Illinois at the Brazilian steakhouse Brazzaz.  Other sponsors included The law firm of Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.Argentine-American Midwest Chamber of Commerce, The Latin American Chamber of Commerce, Korean Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, and The Peruvian Professionals of Chicago.  The event attracted a crowd of 50-60+ from all over the world, so their inaugural event kicked off with a good start.  There were a few other speakers, but without a microphone, we weren’t able to hear them well.

I’m glad they’re back, but on its website, there’s no indication that the World Trade (Center?) Illinois is a member of the World Trade Centers Association.  This means members of the WTC Illinois might not be able to take advantage of the benefits of being able to utilize the services of other WTC’s throughout the world when traveling to different corners of the globe.  In the past I’ve mentioned my concern with the value associated with the membership dues that its predecessor organization charged.  I discussed this briefly with the new leadership, but it appears as if they cling to the same value relationship.  It’s good that there’s another organization like the WTC back in the Chicagoland area & they appear to offer some valuable services, but it’s important to know what you get for your investment in the organization.  If any WTCI members read this & disagree, feel free to click on the comment button to voice your opinion.

It’s also encouraging that there is now a chamber of commerce focused on Brazil.  Given the country’s growth & potential, there should be enough business & sponsors to support it.  It was also good to see other organizations supporting this event as well.  I think South American business is underrepresented here in Chicago, so seeing Argentina & Peru contributing helps too.  I didn’t see any representatives from Korea at the event, but it’s possible that they arrived after I left to check out some jazz in Millennium Park.  They have a few glitches to work out for their next event, but should be able to learn from the problems they encountered last night to improve them the next time.

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an update from São Paulo, Brasil

Wednesday 16 June, 2010

I spent last week in São Paulo, Brasil meeting with potential partners of a nanotechnology client of mine.  Without divulging anything proprietary about either side, here’s what we learned:

Brasil hasn’t suffered much from the global recession & has maintained growth, if just a bit slowed, over the past few years.  Brasil is still very protective, with 60% import duties on some products.  We’d even heard of an import embargo, but were not able to corroborate it.

Given Brasil’s level of development, cost is still an issue when dealing with products from developed countries, but Brasilian companies that focus on service in addition to sales are able to differentiate themselves considerably.  Servicing Brasilian accounts from Brasil, as opposed to from the U.S., can be important for American companies.  Some Brasilian companies are setting up offices in the U.S. so that they can buy & sell as a local & handle the export/import paperwork internally rather than work through other brokers/forwarders, etc. Smaller Brasilian companies may prefer Cash against Documents instead of more expensive letters of credit.

São Paulo comprises ~45% of all of Brasil’s economy, & together with Rio de Janiero comprises well over 1/2 & perhaps 2/3 of Brasil’s economy.  A big part of the reason for that is the São Paulo state government is a leader in implementing new & progressive policies, which other states then mimic.  Government funding of research can take anywhere from 6 months to 3 years, which can stretch out sales cycles that long.  However, we were told 10% of the GDP of the state of São Paulo goes to education and research, so that’s another indicator of their national leadership.

Lula’s term is coming to an end, which means there’s an election coming up.  Lula’s successor from his party won’t necessarily just continue to follow his policies, so there is some risk even with a candidate from his same party.  Of the businesspeople with whom we spoke, some were planning on little growth in 2011, while others were planning on continuing along the same growth curve.  The election & change in government could lead to appreciation of the Brazilian currency, the Real.  Corruption was mentioned as a problem by most of the firms with which we met, mostly of the federal government bureaucrats with their hands out variety.

On a lighter note, the day we arrived, we happened to come across this: or here’s the short version .