For the most current version of this Note, see Background Notes A-Z.
Area: 8,511,965 sq. km. (3,290,000 sq. mi.); slightly smaller than the U.S.
Cities: Capital--Brasilia (pop. 2.5 million). Other cities--Sao Paulo (11.2 million), Rio de Janeiro (6.3 million), Belo Horizonte (2.4 million), Salvador (2.7 million), Fortaleza (2.4 million), Curitiba (1.7 million), Recife (1.5 million), Porto Alegre (1.4 million).
Terrain: Dense forests in northern regions including Amazon Basin; semiarid along northeast coast; mountains, hills, and rolling plains in the southwest, including Mato Grosso; midwestern savannahs; the world's largest wetland area; and coastal lowland.
Climate: Mostly tropical or semitropical with temperate zone in the south.
Population (2010): 190 million.
Annual population growth rate: 1.02%.
Ethnic groups: African, Portuguese, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Indigenous peoples, and people of Middle Eastern descent.
Religion: Roman Catholic (74%).
Education: Literacy--90.3% of adult population.
Health: Infant mortality rate--21.17/1,000. Life expectancy--73.1 years in 2010.
Work force (2009 est.): 101.7 million.
Type: Federative republic.
Independence: September 7, 1822.
Constitution: Promulgated October 5, 1988.
Branches: Executive--president (chief of state and head of government popularly elected to no more than two 4-year terms). Legislative--Senate (81 members popularly elected to staggered 8-year terms), Chamber of Deputies (513 members popularly elected to 4-year terms). Judicial--Supreme Federal Tribunal (11 lifetime positions appointed by the president).
Political parties: Workers' Party (PT), Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB), Democrats (DEM), Democratic Workers Party (PDT), Brazilian Labor Party (PTB), Party of the Republic (PR), Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), Communist Party of Brazil (PC do B), Progressive Party (PP). Popular Socialist Party (PPS), Green Party (PV), Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL), the National Mobilization Party (PMN), Humanistic Solidarity Party (PHS), the Brazilian Republican Party (PRB), Christian Social Party (PSC), Christian Labor Party (PTC), and the Labor Party of Brazil (PT do B), Brazilian Communist Party (PCB), and Brazilian Labor Renewal Party (PRTB).
Economy (2010 est.)
GDP (nominal exchange rate): $ 2.1 trillion.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $2.194 trillion.
Annual real growth (2010): 7.5%.
Per capita GDP (nominal exchange rate): $11,185.
Per capita GDP (purchasing power parity): $10,900.
Natural resources: Iron ore, manganese, bauxite, nickel, uranium, gemstones, oil, wood, and aluminum. Brazil has 14% of the world's renewable fresh water.
Agriculture (6% of GDP): Products--soybeans, coffee, sugarcane, cocoa, rice, livestock, corn, oranges, cotton, wheat, and tobacco.
Industry (28% of GDP): Types--steel, commercial aircraft, chemicals, petrochemicals, footwear, machinery, motors, vehicles, auto parts, consumer durables, cement, and lumber.
Services (66% of GDP): Types--mail, telecommunications, banking, energy, commerce, and computing.
Trade: Trade balance (2011)--$20 billion surplus. Exports--$202 billion. Major markets--China 15%, United States 10%, Argentina 9%. Imports--$182 billion. Major suppliers--United States 15%, China 14%, and Argentina 8%.
Exchange rate (March 3, 2011): U.S. $1 = 1.65 Brazilian reais.
PEOPLE AND HISTORY
With its 190 million inhabitants, Brazil has the largest population in Latin America and ranks fifth in the world. The majority of people live in the south-central area, which includes the industrial cities of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte. Brazil underwent rapid urban growth; by 2005, 81% of the total population was living in urban areas. This growth aids economic development but also creates serious social, security, environmental, and political problems for major cities.
Six major groups make up the Brazilian population: the Portuguese, who colonized Brazil in the 16th century; Africans brought to Brazil as slaves; various other European, Middle Eastern, and Japanese and other Asian immigrant groups who settled in Brazil since the mid-19th century; and indigenous peoples of Tupi and Guarani language stock. Intermarriage between the Portuguese and indigenous people or slaves was common. Although the major European ethnic stock of Brazil was originally Portuguese, subsequent waves of immigration contributed to a diverse ethnic and cultural heritage.
From 1875 until 1960, about 5 million Europeans immigrated to Brazil, settling mainly in the four southern states of Sao Paulo, Parana, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul. Immigrants came mainly from Italy, Germany, Spain, Japan, Poland, and the Middle East. The largest Japanese community outside Japan is in Sao Paulo. Despite class distinctions, national identity is strong. Brazil prides itself on being open to all races but recently began a national conversation on racial equality and entered into a memorandum of understanding with the United States on addressing racial inequality. Indigenous full-blooded Indians, located mainly in the northern and western border regions and in the upper Amazon Basin, make up less than 1% of the population. Their numbers are declining as contact with the outside world and commercial expansion into the interior increase. Brazilian Government programs to establish indigenous reservations and to provide other forms of assistance have existed for years but are controversial.
Brazil is the only Portuguese-speaking nation in the Americas. About three-quarters of all Brazilians belong to the Roman Catholic Church; most others are members of traditional Protestant denominations, members of growing evangelical movements, or follow practices derived from African religions.
Pedro Alvares Cabral claimed Brazil for Portugal in 1500. The colony was ruled from Lisbon until 1808, when Dom Joao VI and the rest of the Portuguese royal family fled from Napoleon's army, and established its seat of government in Rio de Janeiro. Dom Joao VI returned to Portugal in 1821. His son declared Brazil's independence on September 7, 1822, and became emperor with the title of Dom Pedro I. His son, Dom Pedro II, ruled from 1831 to 1889, when a federal republic was established in a coup led by Deodoro da Fonseca, Marshal of the Army. Slavery had been abolished a year earlier by the Princess Regent Isabel while Dom Pedro II was in Europe.
From 1889 to 1930, the government was a constitutional republic, with the presidency alternating between the dominant states of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais. This period ended with a military coup that placed Getulio Vargas, a civilian, in the presidency; Vargas remained as dictator until 1945. Between 1945 and 1961, Brazil had six presidents: Jose Linhares, Gaspar Dutra, Vargas himself, Cafe Filho, Carlos Luz, Nereu Ramos, Juscelino Kubitschek, and Janio Quadros. When Quadros resigned in 1961, Vice President Joao Goulart succeeded him.
Goulart's years in office were marked by high inflation, economic stagnation, and the increasing influence of radical political elements. The armed forces, alarmed by these developments, staged a coup on March 31, 1964. The coup leaders chose Humberto Castello Branco as president, followed by Arthur da Costa e Silva (1967-69), Emilio Garrastazu Medici (1969-74), and Ernesto Geisel (1974-79), all of whom were senior army officers. Geisel began a democratic opening that was continued by his successor, Gen. Joao Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo (1979-85). Figueiredo permitted the return of politicians exiled or banned from political activity during the 1960s and 1970s and allowed them to run for state and federal offices in 1982.
Concurrently, an electoral college consisting of all members of congress and six delegates chosen from each state continued to choose the president. In January 1985, the electoral college voted Tancredo Neves from the opposition Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) into office as President. Neves died 39 days later, before his presidential inauguration, from abdominal complications. Vice President Jose Sarney became President upon Neves' death. Brazil completed its transition to a popularly elected government in 1989, when Fernando Collor de Mello won 53% of the vote in the first direct presidential election in 29 years. In 1992, a major corruption scandal led to his impeachment and ultimately, resignation. Vice President Itamar Franco took his place and governed for the remainder of Collor's term.
To date, all democratically elected presidents that followed Itamar Franco started and finished their mandate with no interruptions in the constitutional order. On October 3, 1994 Fernando Henrique Cardoso was elected President with 54% of the vote. Cardoso took office January 1, 1995, and pursued a program of ambitious economic reform. He was re-elected in 1998 for a second 4-year term. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, commonly known as Lula, was elected president in 2002, after his fourth campaign for the office. He was re-elected in 2006 for a second 4-year term. President Lula, a former union leader, is Brazil's first working-class president. In office he took a prudent fiscal path, warning that social reforms would take years and that Brazil had no alternative but to maintain tight fiscal austerity policies. At the same time, he made fighting poverty through conditional transfer payments an important element of his policies.
In October 2010, Brazil held its sixth consecutive presidential and general elections since the reinstatement of democracy in 1985. About 130 million Brazilians, two-thirds of the country’s population, were eligible to vote, a mandatory civic duty. Up for election were the President, the governors of all 26 states and of the federal district of Brasília; all 513 federal deputies; 54 senators (two-thirds of the total); and 1,057 delegates to the 27 state assemblies. Dilma Vana Rousseff, the Workers Party (PT) candidate, won a runoff election against the Social Democrat Party candidate, becoming the first woman president in Brazil. Dilma had previously served as the Minister of Mines and Energy and the Executive Chief of Staff, a cabinet-member position, in President Lula’s administration. Rousseff took office on January 1, 2011 and has prioritized growth with equity policies to eradicate poverty and fiscal austerity. President Rousseff has also been a vocal defender of human rights and promoter of social inclusion, most notably gender equality.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
Brazil is a federal republic with 26 states and a federal district. The 1988 constitution grants broad powers to the federal government, made up of executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The president holds office for 4 years, with the right to re-election for an additional 4-year term, and appoints his own cabinet. There are 81 senators, three for each state and the Federal District, and 513 deputies. Senate terms are 8 years, staggered so that two-thirds of the upper house is up for election at one time and one-third 4 years later. Chamber terms are 4 years, with elections based on a complex system of proportional representation by states. Each state is eligible for a minimum of eight seats; the largest state delegation (Sao Paulo's) is capped at 70 seats. This system is weighted in favor of geographically large but sparsely populated states.
Nineteen political parties are represented in Congress. Since representatives to the lower house might switch parties, the proportion of congressional seats held by particular parties can change. The major political parties are:
Workers' Party (PT-center-left)
Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB-center)
Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB-center-left)
Green Party (PV-center-left)
Socialism and Freedom Party (Psol-left)
Brazilian Labor Party (PTB-center-right)
Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB-center-left)
Democratic Labor Party (PDT-center-left)
Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB-left)
Progressive Party (PP-center-right)
Party of the Republic (PR-center right)
Brazilian Republican Party (PRB-center)
Christian Social Party (PSC-center)
Chief of State and Cabinet Members
President--Dilma Vana Rousseff
Vice President--Michel Miguel Elias Temer Lulia
Minister-Chief Casa Civil (Chief of Staff)--Antonio Palocci Filho
Minister of Defense--Nelson Jobim
Minister of Development, Industry, and Trade--Fernando Damata Pimentel
Minister of Finance--Guido Mantega
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Antonio de Aguiar Patriota
Minister of Justice--Jose Eduardo Cardozo
Minister of the Environment--Izabella Teixeira
Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply--Wagner Goncalves Rossi
Minister of Mines and Energy--Edison Lobao
Ambassador to the United States--Mauro Vieira
Ambassador to the United Nations--Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti
Ambassador to the OAS--Ruy de Lima Casaes e Silva
Brazil maintains an embassy in the United States at 3006 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-238-2700) but it is temporarily located at 1025 Thomas Jefferson Street NW, Suite 300 Washington DC 20007, while the permanent embassy is being renovated. Brazil has consulates general in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, and consulates in Miami, Houston, Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.
The Brazilian economy’s solid performance during the financial crisis and its strong and early recovery, including 2010 growth of 7.5%, have contributed to the country’s transition from a regional to a global power. Expected to continue to grow in the 4% to 5% range, the economy is the world’s eighth-largest and is expected to rise to fifth within the next several years. During the administration of former President Lula, surging exports, economic growth and social programs helped lift tens of millions of Brazilians out of poverty. For the first time, a majority of Brazilians are now middle-class, and domestic consumption has become an important driver of Brazilian growth. President Dilma Rousseff, who took office on January 1, 2011, has indicated her intention to continue the former president’s economic policies, including sound fiscal management, inflation control, and a floating exchange rate.
Rising employment and strong domestic demand pushed inflation to nearly 6% in 2010, leading the central bank to boost interest rates and the Rousseff government to announce cuts in 2011 spending. The economic boom and high interest rates have attracted foreign currency inflows that have driven up the value of the currency (the real) by nearly 40% since the start of 2009. In an effort to limit the appreciation, the government has increased dollar reserves and capital controls.
Brazil is generally open to and encourages foreign investment. It is the largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Latin America, and the United States is traditionally the top foreign investor in Brazil. Since domestic savings are not sufficient to sustain long-term high growth rates, Brazil must continue to attract FDI, especially as the government plans to invest billions of dollars in off-shore oil, nuclear power, and other infrastructure sectors over the next few years. The major international athletic competitions that Brazil will host every year until the 2016 Rio Olympics are also leading the government to invest in roads, airports, sports facilities, and other areas.
President Rousseff will continue to make economic growth and poverty alleviation top priorities. Export promotion is a main component in plans to generate growth and reduce what is seen as a vulnerability to international financial market fluctuations. To increase exports, the government is seeking access to foreign markets through trade negotiations and increased export promotion as well as measures to promote exports.
Brazil has been a leading player in the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round negotiations and continues to seek to bring that effort to successful conclusion. To further increase its international profile (both economically and politically), the Rousseff administration is also seeking expanded trade ties with developing countries, as well as a strengthening of the Mercosul (Mercosur in Spanish) customs union with Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina. In 2008 Mercosul concluded a free trade arrangement with Israel, and another arrangement with Egypt was signed in 2010. Mercosul is pursuing free trade negotiations with Mexico and Canada and resumed trade negotiations with the EU. The trade bloc also plans to launch trilateral free trade negotiations with India and South Africa, building on partial trade liberalization agreements concluded with these countries in 2004. China has significantly increased its purchases of Brazilian soy, iron ore, and steel in recent years, becoming Brazil's principal export market and an important source of investment.
Agriculture is a major sector of the Brazilian economy, and is key for economic growth and foreign exchange. Agriculture accounts for about 6% of GDP (25% when including agribusiness) and 36% of Brazilian exports. Brazil enjoyed a positive agricultural trade balance of $55 billion in 2009. Brazil is the world's largest producer of sugarcane, coffee, tropical fruits, frozen concentrated orange juice (FCOJ), and has the world's largest commercial cattle herd (50% larger than that of the U.S.) at 170 million head. Brazil is also an important producer of soybeans (second to the United States), corn, cotton, cocoa, tobacco, and forest products. The remainder of agricultural output is in the livestock sector, mainly the production of beef and poultry (second to the United States), pork, milk, and seafood.
Environment, Science, and Technology
About half of Brazil is covered in forests, and Brazil has the majority of the world's largest rain forest, the Amazon. Little less than 40% of the Amazon, and to a lesser extent the Cerrado (tropical savannah), is managed by national, state, or municipal governments, either as conservation units, forest concessions, or officially designated indigenous lands. In the last 30 years, migration into the Amazon and the conversion of forest land, primarily for agricultural use, reduced forest cover in the Brazilian Amazon by 20%. Through initiatives such as the revitalization of degraded pastures and forest, agriculture, and livestock integration, the government made progress in reducing deforestation for agricultural use. However, deforestation due to illegal logging remains a serious problem. In 2006, the government created the Brazilian Forest Service with the aim to manage in a sustainable manner the Amazon forest resources.
Although Brazil had a slow start in 2010 in taking steps to advance its climate change commitments made at the COP-15 in Copenhagen, by the end of 2010 it had pushed ahead with concrete action demonstrating results on climate change. Brazil's national initiatives served to demonstrate the country’s intention to solidify its role as a leading player in international climate change negotiations. The lowest-ever Amazon deforestation rate, updated numbers for Brazil’s inventory on greenhouse gas emissions, a national action plan, and the implementation of the National Climate Change Fund were concrete domestic steps taken by the Government of Brazil to address climate change concerns and were a signal to the international community underscoring that Brazil is indeed trying to meet the ambitious goals presented at COP-15. Figures from 2010 demonstrated that Brazil has reduced the rate of Amazon deforestation by more than 70%, the lowest rate of deforestation in over 20 years, and government officials predict that, at the current pace, Brazil’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 36.1% to 38.9% could be reached by 2016 rather than 2020. Brazil also increased its programs in other biomes at risk for significant deforestation. At COP-16 in December 2010 in Cancun, the Brazilian Government delegation played an important role in brokering the central outcome of the conference--a characterization of country commitments under the Kyoto Protocol that could enable Protocol proponents to say it can continue into a second commitment period.
Brazil is a leader in science and technology in South America and a global leader in some fields, such as biofuels, agricultural research, deep-sea oil production, and remote sensing. The Brazilian Government seeks to develop an environment that is more supportive of innovation, taking scientific advances from the laboratory to the marketplace in order to promote economic growth. Yet there are still some challenges. With the vast majority of the population living in urban areas, Brazil faces serious environmental obstacles in providing potable water to its citizens and removing and treating their waste water.
U.S. Government, private sector, and academic researchers have extensive ties with Brazilian counterparts. Areas in which there is close cooperation include biofuels, medical research, remote sensing, and agriculture. The extent of bilateral scientific and technological cooperation is expanding and prospective areas in which to expand include advanced materials, telecommunications, energy transmission, and energy efficiency. Limitations to cooperation include substantial restrictions on foreign researchers collecting or studying biological materials, due to concerns over possible unauthorized taking and commercialization of genetic resources or traditional knowledge of indigenous communities (often referred to as "biopiracy").
Brazil has one of the most advanced industrial sectors in Latin America. Accounting for roughly one-third of the GDP, Brazil's diverse industries include automobiles and parts, machinery and equipment, textiles, shoes, cement, computers, aircraft, and consumer durables. Brazil continues to be a major world supplier of commodities and natural resources, with significant operations in lumber, iron ore, tin, other minerals, and petrochemicals. Brazil has a diverse and sophisticated services industry as well, including developed telecommunications, banking, energy, commerce, and computing sectors. The financial sector is secure and provides local firms with a wide range of financial products, yet interest rates remain among the highest in the world. The largest financial firms are Brazilian (and the two largest banks are government-owned), but U.S. and other foreign firms have an important share of the market.
Government-initiated privatization after 1996 triggered a flood of investors in the telecom, energy, and transportation sectors. Privatization in the transportation sector has been particularly active over the last 20 years. Many antiquated and burdensome state management structures that operated in the sector were dismantled, though some still exist. The Brazilian railroad industry was privatized through concession contracts ranging from 30 to 60 years, and the ports sector is experiencing similar, albeit less expansive, privatization. In response to the dramatic deterioration in the national highway system, the federal government granted concessions for existing highways to private companies, which in turn promise to restore, maintain, and expand these highways in exchange for toll revenues generated. New opportunities are expected to arise with the opening of the Brazilian civil airports to private management and investment through a federal concession model, but the initiative faces obstacles due to questions surrounding sovereignty and opposition from airport unions. The United States and Brazil signed an Air Services Liberalization Agreement in 2008 that increased commercial air travel between the two countries. In 2010, they initialed an air transportation agreement and an air transportation memorandum of understanding that, when they are signed and enter into force, will continue and expand this process.
The Government of Brazil undertook an ambitious program to reduce dependence on imported oil. In the mid-1980s, imports accounted for more than 70% of Brazil's oil and derivatives needs; the net figure is now zero. Brazil announced in early 2008 the discovery of the Tupi and Carioca oil fields off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. The oil reserves in these fields are conservatively estimated at between 30 billion and 80 billion barrels, which would put Brazil in the top 10 countries in the world in reserves. Output from the existing Campos Basin and the discovery of the new fields could make Brazil a significant oil exporter by 2015. Brazil is one of the world's leading producers of hydroelectric power. Of its total installed electricity-generation capacity of 112,000 megawatts, hydropower accounts for 77,000 megawatts (69%). Brazil is also the world’s largest biofuels exporter and sugar-based ethanol makes up over 50% of its vehicle fuel usage. Brazil and the United States, as the world’s largest biofuels producers, are working jointly through a 2007 memorandum of understanding to help make sustainable biofuels a global commodity.
Like its supply of carbon-based fossil fuels, Brazil’s proven mineral resources are extensive. Large iron and manganese reserves are important sources of industrial raw materials and export earnings. Mining companies, most of them Brazilian, tend to prefer to explore the deposits of nickel, tin, chromite, bauxite, beryllium, copper, lead, tungsten, zinc, gold, and other minerals. High-quality, coking-grade coal required in the steel industry is in short supply.
Brazil has traditionally been a leader in the inter-American community and played an important role in collective security efforts, as well as in economic cooperation in the Western Hemisphere. Brazil supported the Allies in both World Wars. During World War II, its expeditionary force in Italy played a key role in the Allied victory at Monte Castello. It is a member of the Organization of American States (OAS) and a party to the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty). Recently, Brazil has given high priority to expanding relations with its South American neighbors and is a founding member of the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUL) created in June 2004, and Mercosul, a customs union between Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil, with Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador as associate members; Venezuela's full membership is pending.
Brazil is a charter member of the United Nations and participates in its specialized agencies. It has contributed troops to UN peacekeeping efforts in the Middle East, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cyprus, Mozambique, Angola, East Timor, and most recently Haiti. Brazil is currently leading the UN peacekeeping force in Haiti. In 2010-2011, Brazil is serving as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Prior to this, it had been a member of the UN Security Council nine times. Brazil is seeking a permanent position on the Council.
As Brazil's domestic economy has grown and diversified, the country has become increasingly involved in international economic and trade policy discussions. For example, Brazil was a leader of the G-20 group of nations and in 2009 became a creditor country to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The U.S., Western Europe, and Japan are primary markets for Brazilian exports and sources of foreign lending and investment. China is a growing market for Brazilian exports. Brazil also bolstered its commitment to nonproliferation through ratification of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), signing a full-scale nuclear safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), acceding to the Treaty of Tlatelolco, and joining the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
The United States was the first country to recognize Brazil's independence in 1822. The two countries have traditionally enjoyed friendly, active relations encompassing a broad political and economic agenda. Deepening U.S.-Brazil engagement and cooperation are reflected in high-level contacts between the two governments, including reciprocal visits by President George W. Bush and President Lula in March 2007, a visit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in March 2010, and four other cabinet-level visits in the first part of 2010. Secretary Clinton attended the January 1, 2011 inauguration of President Dilma Rousseff and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner visited Brazil in February 2011.
Ongoing topics of discussion and cooperation include trade and finance; biofuels; regional security; nonproliferation and arms control; human rights and trafficking in persons; international crime, including financial support to terrorist groups; counter-narcotics; social inclusion; cooperation in third countries on health and food security issues; and environmental and climate change issues. During Secretary Clinton’s March 2010 visit to Brazil, the two countries launched the high-level Global Partnership Dialogue and signed three memoranda of understanding--on Climate Change Cooperation, on the Advancement of Women, and on Trilateral Cooperation. Several other agreements were signed with Brazil in 2010, including the Defense Cooperation Agreement in April, the Binational Energy Working Group Joint Action Plan in July, the Tropical Forests Conservation Act in August, and the General Security of Information Agreement in November. Brazil and the U.S. also meet periodically for structured consultations and to increase cooperation on agriculture, trade, science and technology and nuclear energy.
In addition to these recently signed initiatives and periodic meetings, the governments of Brazil and of the United States have a long-standing collaboration on biofuels, trilateral cooperation, and eliminating racial discrimination. Under a memorandum of understanding signed in 2007, Brazil and the U.S. have been working together to advance biofuels cooperation, bilaterally and globally. There is also cooperation on trilateral development programs in Mozambique in the health sector and food security, with plans to extend this cooperation to additional countries in Africa, Haiti, and El Salvador. In March 2008, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Brazil and signed a historic Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality. The plan calls for Brazil and the United States to work jointly in combating racial discrimination and sharing best practices in tackling discrimination in the areas of education, law enforcement, labor, health, and many other areas.
U.S. Embassy and Consulate Functions
The U.S. embassy and consulates in Brazil provide a wide range of services to U.S. citizens and business. Political, economic, and science officers deal directly with the Brazilian Government in advancing U.S. interests but also are available to brief U.S. citizens on general conditions in the country. Attaches from the U.S. Commercial Service and Foreign Agriculture Service work closely with hundreds of U.S. companies that maintain offices in Brazil. These officers provide information on Brazilian trade and industry regulations and administer several programs to aid U.S. companies starting or maintaining business ventures in Brazil. The number of trade events and U.S. companies traveling to Brazil to participate in U.S. Commercial Service and Foreign Agriculture Service programs tripled over the last 3 years.
The consular section of the embassy and the consulates and the consular agents provide vital services to the estimated 60,000 U.S. citizens residing in Brazil. Among other services, the consular section assists Americans who wish to participate in U.S. elections while abroad and provides U.S. tax information. Besides the U.S. residents living in Brazil, some 150,000 U.S. citizens visit annually. The consular section offers passport and emergency services to U.S. tourists as needed during their stay in Brazil. The U.S. Mission in Brazil is the fourth-largest visa operation in the world, issuing over 600,000 visas in FY 2010. The consulate in Sao Paulo is the largest non-immigrant visa issuing post, conducting over 2,000 visa interviews a day. It is expected that Brazilian travel to the U.S. will increase 198% by 2015. Brazilian tourists spent $4.57 billion in the U.S. economy in 2009.
Principal U.S. Embassy Officials
Ambassador--Thomas A. Shannon
Deputy Chief of Mission--Lisa Kubiske
Defense Attache--Colonel Samuel Prugh, U.S. Army
Consul General--Marie Damour
Economic Counselor--James Dudley
Agricultural Counselor--Alan Hrapsky
Commercial Attache--Devin Rambo
Political Counselor--Ricardo Zuniga
Science Counselor--Stefanie Amadeo
Public Affairs Counselor--Adele Ruppe
Consul General in Sao Paulo--Thomas P. Kelly
Consul General in Rio de Janeiro--Dennis Hearne
Consul in Recife--Chris del Corso
The U.S. Embassy in Brasilia is located at SES Avenida das Nacoes, quadra 801, lote 3, Brasilia, DF, CEP: 70.403-900 (tel. 55-61-3312-7000), (fax 55-61-3225-9136). Internet: http://brasilia.usembassy.gov/.
U.S. consulates general are in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, and a consulate is in Recife. Consular agents are located in Manaus, Belem, Salvador, Fortaleza, and Porto Alegre. Branch offices of the U.S. Foreign Commercial Services are located in Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte.
Other Business Contacts
U.S. Department of Commerce
Office of Latin America and the Caribbean
International Trade Administration
14th and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20230
Automated fax service for trade-related info: 202-482-4464
American Chamber of Commerce of Sao Paulo
Rua da Paz, No. 1431
04713-001 - Chacara Santo Antonio
Sao Paulo - SP, Brazil
American Chamber of Commerce of Rio de Janeiro
Praca Pio X-15, 5th Floor
Caixa Postal 916
20040 Rio de Janeiro--RJ-Brazil