Brazil ‘simply too big to ignore’ for companies looking overseas

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THE world’s eyes will be on Brazil, the fifth-largest country in the world, in the years ahead as it prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic and Paralypmic Games.

These two major events will create opportunities for Yorkshire businesses in a market described as “simply too big to ignore” by Mark Robson, UK Trade & Investment’s (UKTI) international trade director for Yorkshire and the Humber.

With a population of around 185 million people and a GDP per head greater than either India or China, Brazil has one of the world’s most rapidly developing economies.

Mr Robson said openings will be created in stadia development and related infrastructure, including rail and roads, as well as energy and power, and a myriad of other sectors and services.

He said: “Generally speaking if a product or service is competitive in world markets it is also likely to sell well in Brazil.”

In the third quarter of 2012, Yorkshire and the Humber exports to Latin America and the Caribbean were worth £204m, up from £117m in the previous three months. Total exports from Yorkshire and the Humber reached nearly £4bn, up from £3.7bn in the second quarter.

Yorkshire-born business Sunny Sky Solutions works with firms which are looking to capitalise on the emerging Latin American market. Managing director Gabriela Castro-Fontoura was born and raised in Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay and the new home of the firm after a relocation.

She said: “Latin America is enjoying a period of economic boom and there is plenty of demand for many of the goods and services that the region can offer, from the amazing food and drink that Yorkshire produces to engineering services and manufacturing products.

“Because of its growth over the last five years, and forecasts are still looking good for 2013, Latin America has a particular need for infrastructure support, something many Yorkshire manufacturers and service companies can provide – think roads, airports, housing and more.

“Because of the rise in purchasing power, more Latin Americans are consuming imported goods than ever before – so a range of Yorkshire businesses could explore these markets, from textiles to food and drink, from creative services to education and software. Oil and gas as well as energy in general are also going through important expansion, benefiting many Yorkshire businesses.”

Meanwhile, the world’s largest and most technologically powerful economy and Britain’s largest single export market, the United States, also offers big opportunities for businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber.

In fact, North America is the region’s second biggest trading partner after the European Union. Exports to North America by Yorkshire and the Humber companies hit £658m, down slightly from £674m in the previous quarter.

Mr Robson said the US economy, although stagnating of late, is integrated and largely self-contained, with every major industry represented. “Manufacturers routinely source components overseas and UK goods have a good reputation for quality in the United States”, he added. Key sectors identified by UKTI include clean technology, the creative industries, energy and power, financial and professional services, ICT, and life sciences.

Grimsby-based Shield Technology recently announced the appointment of Affinity Tool Works LLC as the official distributor in the US of its honing fluids, corrosion inhibitors and rust removers.

The speciality chemical manufacturer’s MD, Paul Prince, said it is “simply the scale of the market” which makes the US attractive for exports. He added: “And for us, because it’s a woodworking market we are aiming at, the Americans are very, very keen both professional and amateur woodworkers.”

The number of opportunities in the US mirrors the sheer size and scale of the country, but equally exciting markets are emerging elsewhere in the Americas.

Mexico, for example, is a country of huge potential that has demonstrated predictable, stable economic growth, said Mr Robson. Analysts predict that its economy will be larger than the UK’s by 2040 and Mexico has free trade agreements with more countries than almost any other country in the world. “It deserves recognition alongside the US and Brazil, and when you throw the likes of Canada, Argentina and others into the mix it is clear the Americas reflects the scale of its land mass as a region not to be missed in the competitive global marketplace”, said Mr Robson.

n In partnership with Heathrow, the Yorkshire Post is running a special series highlighting global trade opportunities for Yorkshire companies. In the coming weeks, the Yorkshire Post will look at markets including Australia and Oceania, Asia and Europe.