Why you should be looking at Brazil

Linked in photoAfter four and a half years as British Consul General in Sao Paulo and Director of UK Trade & Investment in Brazil, John Doddrell left the civil service in October 2014 and has set up his own London-based consultancy business, sharing an office with MEI.   John will focus on advising UK companies wishing to do business internationally especially in Brazil. 

There are strong synergies between MEI and John’s new business given the opportunities associated with the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.  The Olympic Games provide a natural entry point for British business to Brazil given the success of the London Olympics and the happy coincidence of the London / Rio handover.  

Of course, the Olympic Games are not the only reason to look at Brazil.  It is the fifth largest country in the world with a population of some 200 million and an abundance of natural resources including minerals, fresh water, agricultural production, oil and gas.  It is a stable democracy and a country that cannot be ignored.  

There are particularly good opportunities for British companies in the oil and gas sector, where the discovery of huge new “pre-salt” reserves, deep under the ocean, present openings for UK companies with experience of exploration and production in the challenging conditions of the North Sea.  

It does not take long for any visitor to Brazil to note the infrastructure opportunities: airports, ports, railways, metros etc all offer scope for British firms, who will generally need to partner with a Brazilian contractor.  In some cases, there will be openings for Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), where the UK has leading edge expertise.  That is true of infrastructure projects and also the health sector where there are PPP proposals for new hospitals.  

Education is another important sector, and more generally there really are opportunities right across the board with financial services, ICT, power generation, retail etc. all worth exploring.

That said, Brazil is not necessarily an easy country to do business in.  Time and patience will be needed.  Personal relationships are all-important and British businesses will need to devote time and effort to building and maintaining those relationships.  The regulatory context can be difficult to understand, with complex tax and labour laws making it generally necessary to partner with a local Brazilian who can guide them through the legal requirements and bureaucratic processes.  But, those that do come with a long term view often find that Brazil can ultimately be a very rewarding country in which to do business.  


John Doddrell is the former British Consul General to Sao Paulo and now works collaboratively with MEI supporting companies with their international strategy, particularly into and out of Brazil. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information.

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