Last week, the PA Chamber hosted Nestor Forster, Brazil’s ambassador to the United States, for a roundtable discussion between the diplomat’s team, the PA Chamber’s leadership and leaders from government, higher education and industry in the state. Among the attendees were Bob DeSousa, state director for U.S. Senator Pat Toomey; DCED Deputy Secretary for International Business David Briel; and representatives from Penn State University, RHI Magnesita, Unisys, UPMC, Wesfalia and Quantum Communications.
Ambassador Forster provided an overview of recent economic reforms in the country that seek to advance conservation and stewardship while also facilitating emerging energy and technology industries. The Ambassador touted the country’s pending accession to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a multilateral diplomatic group among the world’s largest democratic, free market countries.
Pennsylvania has recently seen a significant increase in its trading relationship with Brazil, with imports and exports growing by several hundred million dollars per year over the past few years, to a total of more than $2 billion in annual economic activity. Pennsylvania’s biggest exports to the country include finished steel, oil and gas, transportation equipment and metallurgical coal – which the Ambassador expressed a desire for increased purchases of, in order to support the country’s growing steel and industrial manufacturing base. Brazil recently signed a trade protocol agreement with the United States, though the Ambassador expressed his desire that the Biden administration would lift tariffs on certain imported goods in order to increase trading activity between the countries.