After Massachusetts dealt half-a-billion of trades with Brazil, Governor Deval Patrick unveiled all the details of his trip to the South American country in December.
The trip is being officially called Innovation Economy Mission, which from December 4th through 9th will visit Brasilia, BrazilÂ’s capital, and companies and universities in Rio de Janeiro and SÃ£o Paulo.
«The trip will be focused on creating jobs in Massachusetts in life sciences, information technology, clean energy, and education,» said Patrick during a press conference held at the GovernorÂ’s office last Wednesday.
Governor Deval Patrick is following the footsteps of 15 U.S. Governors, including Rick Scott, of Florida, and Tim Pawlenty, of Minnesota, who visited Brazil in the past three years.
In 2010 bilateral trade between Massachusetts and Brazil toppled $475 million, with more than $396 million in exports going to Brazil and about $80 million in Brazilian imports to Massachusetts. This year, the Bay StateÂ’s exports to Brazil are already up 31 percent.
There will be three delegations going to Brazil, the government delegation with the Governor plus 11 officials, an academic and cultural delegation with 12 educational professionals, including UMass President Dr. Robert Caret and Museum of Fine Arts Assistant Curator Dennis Carr. And the business delegation is the most comprehensive, with 29 executives, 13 of them are companiesÂ’ CEOs.
Prior to landing at the Brazilian cities, Governor Patrick will head a reduced delegation that will stop by Santiago, Chile, on December 1st, and leave next day. The visit was a requested by the nationÂ’s President Sebastian Piñera, and will also have the goal of advancing partnership opportunities in the innovation economy.
During the press conference, Kenneth Brown, executive director of Massachusetts Office of International Trade & Investment, clarified that the trip wonÂ’t be paid with tax payersÂ’ resources.
«We divide the overall budget in the number of folks on the trip, and each is responsible for their share. With regards to public officials, we developed a trust to allow private industry to help fund and promote Massachusetts (abroad),» said Brown, who will be part of the government delegation.
El Planeta asked the governor how the Brazilian workers settled in Massachusetts will take advantage of his trip to Brazil.
«First off, Brazilian workers are important as all other workers are important to me. WeÂ’re trying to create jobs across the board. Eighty-five percent of the companies in Massachusetts are small, with 50 employees or fewer. You know the entrepreneurial tradition in the Brazilian community, and frankly thereÂ’s a greater proportion in small companies doing businesses overseas. So, we want to identify opportunities for all businesses here in Massachusetts to invest in Brazil, and vice-versa,» said the Governor, who added: «who will take advantage of that, the market will tell.»
Marcony Almeida, editor of Brazilian Magazine, reminded the Governor that roughly 60 percent of Massachusetts Brazilian community comes from Minas Gerais, a southeast state neighboring Rio de Janeiro, and asked why not visit Minas Gerais.
The Governor explained that as the capital, Brasilia falls in the trip as a matter protocol to spend some time there. Rio de Janeiro and SÃ£o Paulo are important commercial centers, «not to diminish the importance of the community here.»
Brown added that itÂ’s simply a matter of time. He personally advocated a visit to Recife, capital of Pernambuco, a northeast state n Brazil, which has a growing gasoline and civil construction sectors.
Governor Patrick also had to clarify to Hispanic journalist present at the conference that Brazil was chosen because «Brazil has largest middle class growth anywhere in the world.» However, Patrick said, it doesnÂ’t mean that there arenÂ’t other important countries to Massachusetts, citing Israel and the U.K.