By Michael Diaz, Jr.
The U.S. is taking its relationship with Brazil for granted, and that may hurt South Florida’s economy.
South Florida has long been Brazil’s primary gateway to the U.S. marketplace. During the first 11 months of 2010, Florida’s merchandise trade with Brazil topped $14.4 billion, a 27 percent increase over 2009. Brazilian tourists spend more money in Florida than in any other state. Thirty-five percent of real-estate buyers in downtown Miami are Brazilians.
However, in 2009, China became Brazil’s primary trading partner, surpassing the U.S. for the first time ever. The following year, China and Brazil signed several trade agreements boosting trade and energy co-operation. By 2010, China took top honors as Brazil’s largest foreign investor.
The growing importance of China to Brazil will change the traditional north-south flow of Brazilian trade and investment. For example, Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer recently signed deals for Chinese Airlines to buy 35 E190 planes worth up to $1.4 billion dollars. China plans to invest $300 million in technology and research centers in São Paulo and Goias while Taiwan based Foxconn Technology Group may spend $12 billion to build a factory in Brazil that will produce iPhones, iPads, and other Apple products. This will be Foxconn’s largest investment overseas.
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