“Building partnerships in areas of strategic importance” was the title of the presentation given by Mr. Paulo Guimarães during a luncheon held after the annual general assembly of the Norwegian Brazilian chamber of commerce on April 24.
Paulo Guimarães is the Minister Counselor at the Brazilian embassy in Oslo since 2007, and he was also acting head of the mission from July 2011 to September 2012. He holds a law degree from the Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro, and his thesis on the strategic elements in the relationship between Norway and Brazil, from the Rio Branco Institute, was published as a book in 2012.
“There is a common lack of knowledge about Norway in Brazil, and this is actually the first book written on the relationship between the two countries. This is also why I present the Norwegian social democracy, the welfare system, the oil wealth and the state presence in the economy in the first chapter of the book”, Mr. Guimarães explained to the audience at the NBCC luncheon.
Look to Brasilia
During his presentation, Mr. Guimarães showed case studies on the Brazilian automotive sector, where Brazil managed to build a supply chain, to demonstrate the importance of understanding what was done in this sector, because this is an experience considered important to policymakers of industrial policies in Brazil today.
Accompanying what’s going on in the capital is of great importance if you want to succeed in Brazil.
“Brasília is indispensable, and Congress plays a central role. You need to try to anticipate what will happen next. You complain about the complexity of the Brazilian system, but I think you find it complex because it is actually the first time you hit a more complex economy, a non-OECD economy. You are experiencing problems in market supply, human resources, and acting as manufacturers here. Complex means that everything is interlaced, and you have to participate in state and industrial policies”, Paulo Guimarães says.
Technology can however be a deal breaker, but investments should not create technology dependency.
“Remember the following: Brazil is not only a market, but should be considered a regional or global production pole. You need go go further than local content”, Mr. Guimarães says.
He also pointed out some areas he sees great potential for closer cooperation between Norway and Brazil. Aquaculture is one area.
“Brazil is working to develop a tropical fish that could be a winner on the world market. Aquaculture would provide people in the Amazon with a sustainable modus for living. Norway has technology and experiences. It is an example of a partnership where we both have a lot to gain.”
Defense is another area.
“Norway has technology, and offshore monitoring is now being given priority by Brazilian authorities. The ocean is being referred to as “the blue Amazon”. The ministry of defense has a big budget and great funds to acquire new technology. They are thinking about it, and so should you”, Mr. Guimarães told the audience
The Minister Counselor outlined several obvious differences, but also similarities between the two countries.
“The state presence in the Norwegian economy was something that caught our attention. Heavy state participation in leading Norwegian companies is both a characteristics but also frequently seen as an advantage to Brazilians, because it makes it easier for us to understand how the system works. I imagine the Brazilian state presence is something many Norwegians coming to Brazil has noticed”, he said.
Paulo Guimarães also discussed aspects of the policies that are similar in Brazil and Norway. In several areas, the two countries have matching, but not similar views.
“Agriculture is an example. Despite obvious differences of interests, this is not seen as an obstacle to diplomatic relations and cooperation. Norway is not a big player in agriculture. Maritime services is however becoming an issue, and Brazilian authorities are very conservative when it comes to liberalization”, Mr. Guimarães said.
The Minister Counselor expressed great satisfaction when talking about the ongoing energy dialogue between Norway and Brazil.
“These are high level talks where we have defines what are the main challenges and main opportunities, and it has been very successful in terms of exchanging proposals. How to increase the oil recovery rates is something both countries have a great interest in looking more into and do research on”, he said.
The unofficial, Norwegian translation can be found at the BNCC website.
By Runa Hestmann Tierno, NBCC journalist