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  Donna Thiessen 

                                                                                                                                                                        (703) 875-4357

 

USTDA DIRECTOR ASKEY CONCLUDES VISIT SUPPORTING EXPANDED

U.S.-BRAZIL ECONOMIC AND COMMERCIAL RELATIONS

Grants Totaling $2 Million Awarded to Advance Priority Development Projects

 

SãO PAULO, BRAZIL – (July 21, 2006) Supporting the expansion of the strong and growing economic and commercial relationship between the United States and Brazil was the focus of an official visit that concluded today by U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) Director Thelma J. Askey.  During the July 18-20 visit to Brazil, Director Askey met with government officials and business leaders to highlight the role of the agency’s program in furthering the bilateral relationship.  The visit also included the award of four grants, totaling nearly $2 million, which reflect the U.S. government’s commitment to support priority Brazilian development projects utilizing private sector expertise and technology.   

 

Director Askey’s visit directly supported the goals expressed by U.S. President George W. Bush and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in November 2005 to increase bilateral trade.  The visit was also highly supportive of the Commercial Dialogue that the Presidents jointly announced last year to improve mutual competitiveness. 

 

“In today’s global economy, a country’s competitiveness will increasingly be defined by its level of cooperation with other nations,” said Director Askey.  “In Brazil, USTDA is helping to establish the necessary infrastructure and institutions to support an expanded bilateral economic and commercial relationship with the United States.”

 

Director Askey’s trip included visits to Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, and São Paulo.  During the three-day itinerary, four grant agreements were signed with strong Brazilian partners in the public and private sectors.  Together, the grants reflect the importance of infrastructure and institutional capacity for private sector growth in furthering Brazil’s development.  The grants provide support for port logistics modernization, emergency management and response, clean water, and standards development for occupational health and hygiene in the petrochemical industry. 

 

In addition to the grant agreements, Director Askey and Demian Fiocca, President of the Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES), Brazil’s national development bank, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  The MOU states the shared commitment of USTDA and BNDES to work together in promoting priority development projects in Brazil. 

 

During her visit, Director Askey also joined with the American Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo in announcing the formation of a program to support an intellectual property rights (IPR) training program for São Paulo state IPR enforcement officers.  This public-private partnership will support Brazil’s efforts to comply with its obligations under the Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property in the World Trade Organization.

 

Brazil is an important commercial and political partner for the United States in the Latin American and Caribbean region.  In 2005, U.S. exports to Brazil totaled $15.3 billion.  To date, USTDA has invested almost $19 million in Brazil to improve the infrastructure that supports trade and investment.  USTDA has provided funding to both public and private sector entities for projects involving electric power generation, rail and port infrastructure, urban transport, environmental remediation and pollution control projects, information communications technology and standards and regulatory capacity building. 

 

A separate fact sheet describes the grants, MOU and training program, in greater detail.  The competitive contracting opportunities associated with the four USTDA grant agreements signed this week will be announced on the Federal Business Opportunities website at www.fedbizopps.gov.  U.S. firms should submit proposals according to the instructions contained in the Federal Business Opportunities announcement.  Each Brazilian grant recipient will individually select the U.S. firm that will provide the USTDA-funded assistance associated with its own respective grant.

 

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries.  The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, early investment analysis, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment.  USTDA’s strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development.  In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.

 

Additional Information Fact Sheet on New USTDA Program Activities in Brazil

 

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