Trade with Brazil on the Minds of States

With states stepping up their global trade efforts, Illinois and Massachusetts hope they have an edge drumming up business opportunities in Brazil, which hosts the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.

President Obama welcomed Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to the White House Monday (April 9) to discuss their countries' ongoing relationship on a broad range of issues, including trade and the environment.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is expected to welcome the president of Brazil to the State House today. The visit is a result of Patrick's 2011 trade mission to Brazil and is the only other stop in the United States other than Washington, D.C., the governor's office said earlier this month.

While in Brazil last year, Patrick announced an agreement intended to forge closer links between agricultural researchers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and their Brazilian counterparts. Later in the day Rousseff is scheduled to make remarks at the Harvard Kennedy School's Institute of Politics in Cambridge, The Associated Press reported.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn also was slated to travel to Washington early this week to meet with the Brazilian president to boost Illinois exports to that South American country. Quinn travels to Brazil for a trade mission later this year, The Chicago Tribune reported earlier.

In a related effort, the Council of Great Lakes Governors said it is leading a multi-sector trade mission to Brazil, Chile and Colombia from April 14-24, 2012. 

Ted Piccone, a senior fellow and deputy director of foreign policy at The Brookings Institution, explains in this posting that while in the United States Rousseff is promoting her signature initiative to expand overseas science and education opportunities to improve Brazil's skilled workforce with visits to Harvard and MIT. Piccone writes that with the lifting of tariffs on Brazilian ethanol, investments in oil drilling off Brazil's coast, and potentially lucrative commercial opportunities surrounding its hosting of the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, “there is much to be gained from better relations.”

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