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Brazil is a tough trade nut to crack

October 27th, 2009

SDGCOMPANIES planning to walk into work in Brazil using their international experience will have a rude shock because of the strength of domestic suppliers, a leading consultant warns.

The fifth largest country in the world by population has come under the business spotlight because of the strength of its economy, and the significant sums of public money that will be spent in the run up to the 2014 Fifa World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

However, Gloria Hutt, head of Latin America at consultants Steer Davies Gleave, said that companies new to Brazil have their work cut out to prove themselves.

“It’s very important to work with Brazilians to understand their point of view; their context and culture. We have to make a very serious effort to adapt our offer in each country.”

Steer, which has operated in Latin America for 14 years and has 40 people in offices across the continent, provides consultancy services on planning for crowds and moving people. It has the Brazilian market in its sights because of the potential growth and with on eye on the likely decline in public spending on infrastructure in Europe.

“It means the international side of our business becomes more important,” said Ms Hutt. “Brazil and Mexico are two major areas that we expect to develop very quickly.”

She added: “The professional base in Brazil is very good. We can find the people to deliver the services; it’s similar to Europe. A disadvantage is that local consultants are very good. It’s more difficult than other countries.”

Ms Hutt said the recession had slowed the progress of some spending programmes in Brazil but she expected those to restart soon. Steer is building contacts with a number of the World Cup host cities and has won work to provide crowd movement and transport planning for the Cuiabá Arena in Cuiabá, Mato Grosso.

Steer will have to show its mettle to win contracts. A recent report by UK Trade & Investment on infrastructure opportunities in Brazil, showed it was increasingly looking to Asia for its trading relationships, with China now its biggest partner.

By Richard Tyler

http://www.telegraph.co.uk


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