Fostering Bilateral Trade and Investment Flows Between Brazil and Florida

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  • April 28, 2017 12:25 AM | Anonymous

    Embraer announced an agreement with Uber to explore the concept of an ecosystem—dubbed Uber Elevate Network—that will allow the potential development and deployment of small electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (VTOLs) for short urban commutes. The announcement was made in Dallas, Texas, in the opening session of the Uber Elevate Summit.

    This preliminary partnership is a project generated by the Embraer Business Innovation Center, the new initiative based in Melbourne, Florida, with outposts in Silicon Valley and Boston, which was announced last month when the company revealed its intent to promote air transportation innovations.

    “We firmly believe we need to explore several new business concepts that may impact air transportation in the future. This is a unique opportunity to complement the air transport knowledge of a visionary and revolutionary ground transport company. On exercising this partnership, we will be developing new technologies, new products and new business models which could generate opportunities for Embraer in the future,” said Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva, Embraer’s CEO.

    Read more. 

  • July 10, 2016 4:33 PM | Anonymous

    Port Tampa Bay’s Cruise Terminal 6 was location for the recent Fresh from Florida Export Summit – Accessing Overseas Markets, an event co-presented by the port and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

    The summit brought together a cross-section of agriculture, shipping, refrigerated cargo and logistics experts with attendance by Florida growers and producers, including the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association and its members, as well as food and beverage companies, logistics service providers and regulatory agencies.

    Port Tampa Bay president and CEO Paul Anderson opened up the day-long event, setting a tone of enthusiasm for the commercial and shipping opportunities that lie ahead for the port and the state of Florida, particularly with the opening of the expanded Panama Canal this coming June and the port’s recent acquisition of two new post-Panamax container cranes.

    Click here to read more.

  • November 01, 2015 12:24 PM | Anonymous
    O Cônsul-Geral recebeu, na última quinta-feira, 22 de outubro, visita da presidente do BrazilFlorida Business Council (BFBC), Sueli Bonaparte. Baseado em Tampa, o BFBC foi criado em 2014 com o objetivo estabelecer parcerias de negócios entre Brasil e Flórida. 

    Read full article here.

  • May 17, 2015 8:35 AM | Anonymous

    Brazil is Florida’s No. 1 trade partner when it comes to exports, but getting in the door isn’t easy. The Brazil-Florida Business Council provides a forum for business people to exchange ideas and network.

    TAMPA — Brazil is Florida’s No. 1 trade partner when it comes to exports. But getting in the door isn’t easy. Cutting through red tape and tariffs requires a sharp tool.

    Enter Sueli Bonaparte, who for 17 years served as executive director of the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce in New York City, slicing through bureaucracy to create international partnerships. After moving to Florida a few years back, Bonaparte said, she saw a lot of untapped potential for connecting business threads between this state and her native Brazil.

    So, when the Brazil-Florida Chamber of Commerce left Tampa and moved to Brevard County in 2012 to help bolster a faltering Space Coast, Bonaparte hatched a plan to fill that void. She officially launched the Brazil-Florida Business Council in March to provide a forum for business people to exchange ideas and network, and to facilitate and drive economic growth.

    In addition to driving new export opportunities, Bonaparte’s council is also helping Brazilians coming here to invest in American businesses and real estate. With Brazil’s economy slumping, a lot more Brazilians are looking to invest here, she said.

    Already, the council is attracting a multitude of interests, from attorneys to bankers, airlines, entrepreneurs and realtors in both countries. The council meets monthly for mixers to help members get to know each other and forge alliances in their efforts to grow business between this state and the South American country.

    “We are the guide to get businesses through the process,” Bonaparte said. “For any of our business members, we provide services and assistance on how to enter the market, as well as getting through the regulations and the paperwork.”

    “Brazil has always been one of our top trading partners,” said Eileen Rodriguez, regional director of the Florida Small Business Development Center, which is affiliated with the University of South Florida. “As a matter of fact, I’ve been teaching a class on introduction to international trade, and Brazil is always a part of that conversation.

    “We export a good bit to them and they, needless to say, export to us as well,” Rodriguez said. “A lot of exports going to Brazil from here are electronics, aircraft parts and vehicles. Also, fertilizers are another top commodity.”

    Brazil imports orange juice, coffee and aircraft parts into Florida.

    Making that connection can be trying, Rodriguez said, and business people need to be prepared for what they will face. “There are tariffs involved, there is red tape,” she said. “Those things affect everyone in the U.S. trying to do business with Brazil, but affect Florida even more because it is one of our top trade partners.

    “It can be a little cumbersome,” Rodriguez said, but pays off for businesses patient enough to wade through the process.

    * * *

    Enterprise Florida, the principal economic development agency for the state and a public-private partnership between business and government leaders, keeps statistics on trade with various countries. It reports that in 2013, the Tampa metropolitan area accounted for nearly 11 percent of all exports from the state. In 2014, Florida companies exported nearly $5.1 billion in goods and services to Brazil.

    The top exports from Florida to Brazil were aircraft engines and parts, electric apparatus for telephony, electronic integrated circuits and automated data process machines.

    “There are so many untapped business opportunities both in this region and the state,” Bonaparte said. “There are opportunities, and there was definitely a need for a business organization like this. Because there is not only trade, but Brazilians coming here to invest in condominiums, fitness centers and financial institutions.”

    Bonaparte said her council is working with economic development agencies to help attract even more businesses here and to direct Brazilians on where to invest their money.

    “I’ve been very impressed by Sueli and the events she has had and the order she has brought to the process,” said Mike Meidel, Pinellas County economic development director.

    “The big thing she can do is connect people,” Meidel said. “We already have a lot of Brazilian investment in this area, and Brazilian tourists, and we have more opportunities to capitalize on that.” Bonaparte’s council will help make that happen, he said.

    Jose Salas-Vernis, with Merrill Lynch in Clearwater, is one member attracted to the council to help Brazilian investors. “I can help with finance and capital projects, and with Copa (Airlines) now offering flights to and from Brazil, I expect we will see a big influx” of visitors, he said during a recent council mixer in Carrollwood. “We can help them get established from a financial perspective. As our economy picks up, their investments will pick up.”

    Copa flies from Tampa International Airport to Panama City, Panama, where it connects to cities throughout South America, including Sao Paulo, Brazil.

    Sergio de Oliveira, who speaks Portuguese and is of Brazilian heritage, has transitioned from consumer electronics exporting to commercial lending and is anxious to see how the council can help him.

    “I’m hoping this will open doors for me, but also, to help them open doors here,” de Oliveira said.

    Polk State College, at its campuses in Lakeland and Winter Haven, is working on international initiatives and with the business community to expand opportunities through student training. Groups like the Brazil-Florida Business Council can enhance global studies at the school, said Naomi Boyer, associate vice president of strategic initiatives.

    “We’re working with the Central Florida Development Council right now on a trip to Panama for students,” Boyer said. The Brazil-Florida council gives the school “an active seat at the table,” to glean information it can share with students about how real world business works, she said.

    * * *

    Rodrigo Souza, vice president of finance for Gerdau Long Steel North America, said the new council will give his company another inroad to customers in Brazil looking to buy steel products, then help them to set up financing for those purchases. Gerdau has about 500 employees in the Tampa area.

    “Unfortunately, Brazil is one of the most difficult countries to do business with,” due to the high number of regulations and paperwork, Bonaparte said. “You need to have the knowledge to get through the system.”’

    To learn more about the council, visit

    By Yvette C. Hammett | The Tampa Tribune

    Published: May 17, 2015

    Read original article.

  • May 01, 2015 3:06 PM | Anonymous

    Sueli Boanaparte e Fabio YamadaMay 1, 2015 - Tampa, Florida.  O Brazil-Florida Business Council (BFBC), criado com o objetivo de intensificar o relacionamento entre o estado americano e o Brasil através de intercâmbio de negócios, foi apresentada a empresários, executivos e investidores, durante evento realizado em São Paulo, no dia 23 de abril. 

    Sediado em Tampa, Flórida, o BFBC foi idealizada pela paulistana Sueli Bonaparte, que dedicou mais de 25 anos de sua carreira profissional ao contínuo processo de estreitar os laços entre as comunidades empresariais do Brasil e dos EUA. Durante o evento, que teve início com café da manhã e networking, Sueli apresentou as iniciativas da organização. O encontro contou ainda com uma apresentação do representante do Governo da Flórida, Fabio Yamada, diretor da Enterprise Florida, agência público-privada que tem a finalidade de gerar emprego, renda e trabalho para o estado americano.

    De acordo com Sueli, "o Brasil estará navegando em águas turbulentas este ano, mas tenho absoluta confiança que vamos retomar o crescimento econômico como recuperamos em outras crises financeiras. E o BFBC vai desempenhar um papel significativo neste processo. Nós estaremos desenvolvendo um trabalho voltado para restaurar a confiança dos investidores estrangeiros e americanos, principalmente da Flórida. E ao mesmo tempo promovendo as oportunidades de negócios no Brasil e fomentando investimento americano do estado da Flórida para o País".

    A Flórida já é grande parceira de negócios do Brasil. Atualmente, o comércio bilateral soma 20 bilhões de dólares, com domínio absoluto do Brasil em todas as exportações, principalmente, de equipamentos eletrônicos e aviões civis, motores e peças. Fato que comprova a excelente relação comercial existente entre o estado americano e o Brasil. Com isso, a Flórida deixou de ser um imenso parque de diversões para se tornar o principal canal receptor de investimentos dos Estados Unidos. O estado investiu fortemente ao longo dos anos na reestruturação de toda a infraestrutura para receber novos negócios. Com avançado sistema de telecomunicações, projetos ambientais sustentáveis e estrutura fiscal favorável, o estado concentra grande pólo estudantil, ocupando a 5ª posição no ranking nacional de escolas estaduais, segundo a revista Education Week, além de contar com mais de 50 universidades públicas e privadas que trabalham em colaboração com a comunidade empresarial para a construção de programas que reflitam as necessidades industriais da Flórida.

    Devido à sua favorecida posição geográfica e proximidade com os mercados das Américas Central e do Sul, o estado está se consolidando como um dos principais pontos de acesso para aqueles que pretendem investir nos Estados Unidos. Com quinze portos de águas profundas, sendo o maior na costa leste, a região está preparada logisticamente para receber, armazenar e distribuir os produtos através das malhas ferroviárias e viárias que cortam o país, com distribuição estendida com agilidade para México e Canadá.

    E as vantagens para quem decide investir na Flórida não se restringem somente ao território americano. Segundo Fábio Yamada, diretor administrativo da agência Enterprise Florida, "quando o empreendedor abre um negócio na Flórida, automaticamente ele passar a fazer parte do tratado de livre comércio norte-americano e usufrui do benefício de fácil acesso ao Caribe, América Central, países do Pacífico e da América do Sul e futuramente com países europeus. E com praticamente tudo certo para o fechamento da aliança do Pacífico, as vantagens serão ainda maiores".

    Samuel Souza

    Vervi Assessoria de Imprensa 


  • April 02, 2015 10:40 AM | Anonymous

    Brazilusa MagazineApril 02. Tampa, Fla. Foi com muita simpatia, brincando que o Grêmio de Porto Alegre é seu time de futebol brasileiro favorito e se aventurando com algumas palavras em português que o prefeito de Tampa, Bob Buckhorn, deu abertura ao almoço inaugural do Brazil-Florida Business Council, no The Tampa Club, em Tampa, no dia 11 de Março. Fundado pela brasileira residente em Tampa, Sueli  Bonaparte, o Brazil-Florida Business Council (BFBC) é uma organização sem fins lucrativos que tem por objetivo estreitar os laços comerciais entre empresas e/ou investidores brasileiros que buscam oportunidades na Flórida e americanos que buscam o mesmo no Brasil. 

    Sob a liderança de Sueli Bonaparte e com a colaboração de um seleto grupo de diretores, conselheiros e parceiros, o BFBC já iniciou atividades com altíssimo nível profissional e de comprometimento com seus associados. Sueli tem dedicado mais de 25 anos de sua carreira profissional a forjar laços mais estreitos entre as comunidades de negócios americana e brasileira, sendo que destes, dezessete anos foram dedicados a Câmara de Comércio Brasil-Estados Unidos em Nova Iorque, como Diretora Executiva. 

    Durante sua carreira, Sueli recebeu inúmeros prêmios, entre eles o prestigioso Foreign Policy Association Meritorious Honor Award por sua contribuição imensurável para o sucesso da Câmara de Comércio Brasil-Estados Unidos e no estabelecimento de um relacionamento forte entre os Estados Unidos e o Brasil. E é com esta vasta experiência, autoridade e expertise que Sueli aceitou comandar este projeto de extrema importância para a região de Tampa Bay e da Flórida como um todo, que é o Brazil-Florida Business Council. Profissionais e empresas que buscam conhecer melhor o BFBC podem visitar o site

    To read the original article (in Portuguese), click here and navigate to page 24.

  • March 31, 2015 11:40 AM | Anonymous

    March 31, 2015 – Tampa, Fla. How important is networking when it comes to finding opportunity? This was the question addressed by the most recent gathering of The Brazil-Florida Business Council (BFBC). 

    High-level representatives from both the business community and public agencies came together to listen to Steve Knode's presentation on "Understanding the Brazilian Market: Overcoming Challenges and Seizing Opportunities" on Monday, March 30 at The Tampa Club. 

    “It's important to work with partners such as the Brazil-Florida Business Council to help counsel and advise American companies about doing business in Brazil.” Said keynote speaker Stephen P. Knode, Deputy Senior Commercial Officer for the United States Commercial Service (USCS), the federal agency charged with promoting and protecting US business interests throughout Brazil, visited the BFBC gathering from his post in São Paulo. He discussed the positive attributes that attract business to the Brazil market as well as some of the common challenges for Florida businesses as well. 

    Lorrie Belovich, Director of International Business Development for the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation and a board member of the BFBC explained that part of her job is networking to promote trade investment. She not only works with Tampa Bay companies who want to export their products to Brazil, but also the Brazilian companies who want to establish operations in the Tampa Bay area. “We all can't do everything. There are so many layers of the onion in building international relationships. Having an organization like this, that can leverage and consolidate the efforts of what everyone is doing, with a focus on a single market like Brazil, is absolutely an incredible asset to our region,” Belovich said. 

    “There are a lot of companies looking to do business in this state. It's important to be plugged in,” Joe Davila, Vice President International Services Division of BB&T explained. “I have companies that are importing and exporting, to Brazil and from Brazil. I need to be aware of what is going on because there are challenges. This is a large market, and we can't ignore it.”  

    Donald T. MacDonald, Founder and CEO of Consilium Global Research, a research firm based in St. Petersburg, shared why the BFBC is a vital source of information and connections necessary for his business. “Networking is extremely important. How do you meet people? The hardest part is knocking on doors,” he said. 

    Vitauts M. Gulbis, a partner at Akerman LLP, talked about what the Council means to Akerman’s legal business. “An organization like the BFBC works primarily for us as an opportunity to see who in the global marketplace are interested in doing things in Brazil. By doing this, we get to meet people, we get to see potential clients, and put people together.” 

    Luncheon keynote speaker Knode stressed that these monthly briefings help spotlight opportunities and provide a better understanding of Brazil to those in the Florida business community. 

    The Brazil-Florida Business Council, Inc. ("BFBC"), a Tampa-based business organization was established to foster bilateral trade and investment opportunities between Brazil and the state of Florida, support initiatives and entities that facilitate the flow of goods, services, and people and to drive economic growth and opportunities for communities in both regions. If you are interested in joining The Brazil-Florida Business Council, membership information is available at or contact

  • March 18, 2015 9:33 AM | Anonymous

    March 17, 2015. Tampa, Fla. If you have ever heard Mayor Bob Buckhorn speak of his beloved Tampa Bay, you have undoubtedly heard him say “Tampa, this is our time” and Mr. Mayor, Tampa Bay couldn't agree with you more. Mayor Buckhorn has participated in many overseas trade missions, including Brazil in October 2013, where he signed a Sister City Agreement of Partnership with Porto Alegre, Brazil, and speaks at many international trade events throughout the Bay area. It is fitting that Mayor Buckhorn was invited to deliver the Welcome Address at the inaugural luncheon of the newly formed Brazil-Florida Business Council (BFBC) based in Tampa Bay last Wednesday (March 11).

    The mission of the BFBC is to foster business relations between Brazil and the state of Florida in order to increase trade and investment flows. BFBC Founder and President Sueli Bonaparte, a native of São Paulo, Brazil, and former Executive Director of the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce in New York, said, “Florida is in an exceptional strategic position with respect to trade with Brazil – the world’s seventh largest economy. It’s the right time and Tampa is the right place to launch this organization.”

    The inaugural luncheon was held at The Tampa Club with more than 100 in attendance. The event was sold out weeks in advance and brought together a diverse audience to celebrate this highly anticipated council. Representatives from the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida, attended the event along with representatives from the Tampa Bay Export Alliance, Enterprise Florida, U.S. Export Assistance Center and Port Tampa Bay.

    I believe the formation of the BFBC couldn’t have come at a better time. The public does not know about the many opportunities available to Florida companies with Brazil and vice-versa and I believe this council will change that. (Selma Canas is the secretary on the 2015 BFBC Board.)

    On March 30, the Brazil Business Briefing event will focus on Understanding the Brazilian market, featuring Stephen P. Knode, Deputy Senior Commercial Officer, US Commercial Service in Brazil, speaking on Overcoming Challenges and Seizing Business Opportunities. These are the types of events that I am excited about. They provide pertinent information that can help businesses enter the Brazilian market.

    Gabrielle Mandel, Country Manager, Brazil and Southern Cone, U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) delivered the keynote address and provided information on current projects in Brazil, which happens to be the largest portfolio in South America with more than 100 projects. Brazil is the only country in Latin America with a local USTDA representative, which utilizes a third of their budget. According to Mandel, aviation is the largest sector followed by surface transportation and water projects.

    There is currently a request for proposal for an engineering review of a new water treatment plant project in Rio de Janeiro, which closes on April 13. For details, click here. Mandel said, “Brazil is a dynamic portfolio for U.S. trade,” and encouraged companies to pitch project ideas to the USTDA for review and consideration of available grant funds for bringing the project to fruition.

    During his introduction of Mandel, Rick Homans, CEO and President of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, said, “This is a very important council. Sueli is a doer, not just a talker; and Tampa Bay is a community of doer’s.”

    Bonaparte showed her dedication by establishing the BFBC and recruiting diverse and distinguished professionals for the Board of Directors and Advisory Board in just three months.

    Guests also included business professionals from Brazil who flew in for the luncheon and to conduct business in Tampa. “Brazil is welcome here,” Buckhorn said. “We are a willing partner and will deliver what we say we will. Our future will be forever intertwined and profitable for Brazil and Florida.”

    Hear, hear Mr. Mayor.

    Read the original article by Selma Canas here.

  • March 13, 2015 8:52 AM | Anonymous
    Mayor Buckhorn and Sueli Bonaparte

    March 13, 2015 - Tampa, Florida. The Brazil-Florida Business Council, a statewide membership based council designed to drive bilateral business opportunities between Brazil and Florida, held its inaugural luncheon Wednesday, March 11, at the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. Well over 100 attendees listened as Sueli Cristina Bonaparte, Founding President and Chairperson, stressed that the Council's mission is to strengthen business ties between Florida and Brazil and to extend economic opportunities for both regions.

    "Brazil has matured into a global powerhouse," Bonaparte said in her opening remarks. "Brazil is the seventh largest economy in the world, and Florida is the premier destination for Brazilian tourists, as well as intrepid Brazilian pioneers looking to settle here for business and investment opportunities."

    Sandy Murman, Chairman of the Hillsborough County Commission, also spoke of Tampa's close ties with Brazil during her introduction of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who gave the welcoming address. Brazil, says Murman, is Florida's number one international partner, generating an import export value of close to $21 billion in 2014.

    Buckhorn addressed the crowd on the already close ties between Brazil and Tampa, and spoke about his administration's move forward to expand the city's presence in the world. He explained why the focus of The Brazil-Florida Business Council is important to the economic growth of the city. "If we are going to be the city we want to be, that we are capable of being, we will have to expand our horizons, and be global in our perspective and global in our actions," Buckhorn explained. He went on to say he hoped his work with the Council would help "plant the flag of Tampa and the state of Florida all over the world."

    After lunch, Rick Homans, President and CEO of Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. and a member of the Advisory Board of The Brazil-Florida Business Council, shared his thoughts about what the partnership will bring to the city and the excitement it offers. "We are a community of doers", Homans remarked. "There is a buzz in this community. So many things are happening on so many different fronts."

    He then introduced keynote speaker Gabrielle Mandel, Country Manager of the Brazil and Southern Cone United States Trade Development Agency (USTDA) who is responsible for business development, project preparation and evaluation, and supervision of USTDA activities. She went on to run down the nuts and bolts of the grant program, and elaborated on how businesses can get support and monetary funds to move projects and studies forward. "Brazil is a dynamic portfolio for U.S. trade", said Mandel.

    The inaugural luncheon ended with Bonaparte thanking those who attended for their support and interest in the council, and talking about the upcoming initiatives.

    The Brazil-Florida Business Council, Inc. ("BFBC"), a Tampa-based business organization was established to foster bilateral trade and investment opportunities between Brazil and the state of Florida, support initiatives and entities that facilitate the flow of goods, services, and people and to drive economic growth and opportunities for communities in both regions. If you are interested in joining The Brazil-Florida Business Council, membership information can be found at or contact


  • February 06, 2015 10:00 AM | Anonymous

     Feb. 06, 2015 New group fosters  bilateral trade and investment flows  between Brazil and Florida

     The Brazil-Florida Business Council ("BFBC") officially opened for business earlier this year at its inaugural board meeting on January 15. The BFBC, based in Tampa Bay, will serve as the recognized state-wide business council driving bilateral business opportunities between Florida and Brazil. With an advisory board already consisting of some of the most influential and recognized names in US-Brazil circles, this membership based organization offers an outstanding opportunity for U.S. and Brazilian firms in Florida to promote bilateral business opportunities and help shape the conversation for future growth.

    Founder and President Sueli Bonaparte, a native of São Paulo, Brazil and former Executive Director of the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce in New York, has devoted more than 25 years of her professional career to forging closer ties between the business communities of Brazil and the United States."Brazil's economic influence in Florida has grown exponentially, and Brazilian businesses are opening offices in counties all across the state", said Bonaparte. "Florida is in an exceptional strategic position with respect to trade with Brazil - the world's seventh largest economy. It's the right time and Tampa is the right place to launch this organization."

    Regional business and economic development leaders applauded the initiative. "I am pleased to welcome the new Brazil-Florida Business Council to our community", said Rick Homans, President and CEO of Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation. "Brazil is one of our region's leading markets for international trade, investment and tourism development. We look forward to strengthening our economic ties with the country and continuing to build on the relationships created during our successful trade mission to São Paulo and Porto Alegre in 2013."

    David Neeleman, Founder and President of Azul Brazilian Airlines and a member of the BFBC's Advisory Board, stressed the importance of the organization. "I'd like to say how excited we are for the launching of the Brazil-Florida Business Council and the important work they'll do in further connecting Brazil's and Florida's business communities and promoting Brazilian companies in Florida." Azul began direct flights from Brazil to Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando last year to serve the increasing number of Brazilians visiting and doing business in Florida.
    The BFBC will coordinate events in both Florida and Brazil ranging from investment seminars to networking luncheons. There will also be opportunities for members to get involved in special initiatives.

    The Brazil-Florida Business Council, Inc. ("BFBC"), a Tampa-based business organization was established to foster bilateral trade and investment opportunities between Brazil and the State of Florida, support initiatives and entities that facilitate the flow of goods, services and people and to drive economic growth and opportunities for communities in both regions.

    For more information about the organization or membership, email

    For original press release, click here (Source: NEWSWIRE)

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