United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk arrived in Sao Paulo, Brazil this morning to meet with Brazilian government officials and business owners. During his meetings Ambassador Kirk discussed various topics related to bilateral trade between the U.S. and Brazil, such as innovation and intellectual property rights
Ambassador Kirk addressed members of the American Chamber of Commerce and met with members of the private sector as well as labor leaders earlier this afternoon.
In his speech, Ambassador Kirk talked about the importance of the U.S.-Brazil relationship, and how it is growing.
"The U.S.-Brazil trading relationship is large, growing, and balanced. In 2008, U.S. exports to Brazil totaled $32.9 billion and imports from Brazil totaled $30.5 billion, supporting jobs and growth in both countries.
The United States is a top foreign investor in Brazil. In 2007, U.S. direct investment to Brazil was $41.6 billion, up 25.6% from 2006. And Brazilian investments in the U.S. totaled $1.4 billion in 2007, up 33.7% from 2006.
These investments make a tremendous, positive contribution to our economies. We must continue to build on that success.
...We stand ready to listen to you and work with you. We are facing many common challenges. Among them is the need to stimulate economic growth in the face of the current global economic slowdown without turning inward or resorting to protectionist policies. We need to guard against protectionism around the world. During the Great Depression, knee-jerk protectionism sank the world into deeper suffering. Country after country walled itself off from trade, each responding to the others' insular restrictions. Soon global trade was at a near standstill. We can't afford to let that happen again. We need a trade policy that opens up opportunities, not one that shuts them down."
Tomorrow, Ambassador Kirk will be meeting with Minister of Exterior Relations Celso Amorim in Brasilia. Check back for more updates.