At the opening of the 2019 Brasil Investment Forum, the President of the Republic and Ministers presented reforms and new data to attract foreign investment to the country.

The reforms made by the Brazilian Government were the highlight of the speeches and presentations made by Brazilian authorities at the opening of the 2019 Brasil Investment Forum (BIF), the largest investment attraction event in Brazil, taking place in São Paulo
on October 10-11.

The event has more than 2,000 participants from 45 countries, operating in 37 sectors of the economy. The audience includes government authorities, entrepreneurs, Brazilian and foreign investors, startups and high-ranking executives from large corporations.

In his opening speech, the President of the Republic, Jair Bolsonaro, directed his speech to the foreign investors, calling on them to invest in Brazil. “For us to win your trust, just making good speeches is not enough. We have to prove what we are and what we are doing. Legal responsibility and stability are above all for us, and that is how we want to captivate you. We are here because we believe in you, and you are here because you believe in Brazil. What we want is a better Brazil for everyone, and the world will be much better if Brazil also improves,” said the President.

BIF is organized in partnership by the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency
(Apex-Brasil), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MRE) and the Ministry of Economy (ME). IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno praised the likely approval of the pension reform by the Brazilian National Congress as a crucial factor in boosting confidence in the country. “The approval will bring long-term investment and benefit future generations. In this regard, Brazil is moving ahead of other countries,” he said. Moreno also emphasized financial systems sector technologies (fintech) as a strong sector in Brazil. “In Fintech, Brazil is at the forefront of Latin American countries, and this revolution in the banking industry is important because it extends the benefit to more people,” he said.

The largest event for investment attraction in Latin America takes place on October 10 and 11 in Sao Paulo. Organized by the Brazilian government – through Apex-Brasil, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MRE) and the Ministry of Economy – in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), BIF 2019 highlights investment opportunities in strategic sectors of Brazilian economy, such as infrastructure, energy, agribusiness, technology and innovation. The event is a unique opportunity to discuss improvements in the business environment in Brazil.

Some of the economic sectors that will be featured at BIF 2019 are energy, the insertion of Brazil in global economy, defense, agribusiness, labor relations, infrastructure and technology. “The wide range of themes reflects the importance of this event to update Brazil’s business environment and the strategic opportunities that the country has for investments,” said Segovia, President of Apex-Brasil, at the opening of BIF. For Segovia, it is essential for Apex-Brasil to be recognized as the focal point for foreign investors and for the execution of public policies to attract foreign direct investment in Brazil.

Ludger Schuknecht, Deputy Secretary of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), also stressed the importance of the reforms underway in Brazil. “We want to work together to make Brazil even more attractive for investors. The country is slowly emerging from a recession towards a sustainable recovery, and this is essential to have
well-designed public policies,” he said. The OECD is one of the main references, on a global level, for public policies that have a positive impact on the economy of countries.

Ministers highlight the changes

Ministers Ernesto Araújo (Foreign Affairs), Paulo Guedes (Economy) and Onyx Lorenzoni (Civil House) also reinforced the role of an event such as BIF for the growth of Brazilian economy, both at the local and global levels.

“I am convinced that the discussions held at BIF will greatly contribute to keep the country on this path of delivering results that meet the interests of Brazilians, and help increase the world’s interest in the opportunities that are available in South America, and that will generate growth opportunities not only for Brazil, but for everyone,” said Araújo.

Paulo Guedes highlighted the reforms made by the Brazilian government as fundamental for the country’s growth. “We are privatizing, deleveraging public banks and for the first time the country’s growth will be a sustainable, healthy growth; it will not be a bubble or short burst”, he said. The trade agreements under negotiation were also cited by Guedes. “We managed to make an agreement with Mercosur, which was at a standstill, and we are now talking to Canada, Japan, the U.S. and South Korea,” he added.

Finally, the Chief of Staff Minister, Onyx Lorenzoni, stated that the Brazilian Government has been working to bring the trust of each investor so that Brazil can be seen as a place of sound, safe and profitable opportunities. “If an investor comes to Brazil, it is because, in addition to being a safe environment, it is a market that will have a high profitability. And the great profit we will have as Brazilians will be the job generation, access to new technologies and the development of our society,” concluded Onyx Lorenzoni.

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The Minister of Economy, Paulo Guedes, was the speaker at the first key session of the Brasil Investment Forum 2019, taking place in São Paulo on Thursday (10/11) and Friday (11/11). Guedes began his speech by presenting the pillars of economic policy and highlighted the Pension Reform as the “first pillar” for the resumption of sustainable economic growth.

“Sustainable growth, which is carried by the private sector, with credit and private flow, without public subsidies. There is no ‘chicken flight’ in the Brazilian economy, there is no artificial growth,” he said.

Guedes went on to say that it is necessary to transform the economy and “attack the fiscal imbalance and public spending – which has gone from 18 to 40% of GDP in recent years. Brazil was spending a lot and was spending badly. When we looked at the composition of spending, most of it was with Social Security.  According to the minister, 94% of the expenses were obligatory and, therefore, it is necessary “to decarburise the resources and make the political class regain control over the public budget. This is the new policy in which there is dialogue and each region defines how to use its resources,” Guedes said.

The expenses to pay interest on the debt were pointed out as another problem of the Brazilian economy to be worked out: “this was our second largest expense and we were able to pay R$ 100 billion per year. That’s why we need to demobilize assets, rebalance public accounts and resume investments, which have already been up to 25% of GDP and have fallen to almost 1% in the last five years.

The minister reinforced initiatives in the area of infrastructure that will promote international trade in the coming years, such as agreements with Peru, to facilitate trade with China and “a cut through the North, through English Guyana, which could be an exit for our products through Roraima and entry of energy resources. In addition to new trade agreements with Mercosur and with the European Union and dialogues with Canada and South Korea. Also noteworthy are the debates on private investments in basic sanitation.

Reindustrialization of the economy with the use of cheap energy and simplification of taxes will lead to more jobs, according to Guedes. “To give you an idea, the burden on labor has caused almost 40 million people to be out of formal work. That’s why it’s necessary to clear the slate.

Finally, Guedes said that “as soon as the Social Security Reform is over, the Federative Pact and the first steps of the Tax Reform come in. The Tax Reform is very important, but we can’t do it with urgency and run the risk of going wrong. We will take the first conciliatory step towards the proposal that is already in the House” said the minister.