After a year in which Brazil's economy recorded positive, but lower-than-expected, growth, we begin 2013 with an optimistic outlook for Brazil's economy despite unfavourable conditions in most EU countries and a rather slow economic landscape in the US. However, amidst this climate of uncertainty we believe that this year will present enormous opportunities for Brazil-UK cooperation, primarily in the energy, technology, education and infrastructure sectors.
Brazil is now clearly central to the strategies of most developed nations, which has substantially increased competition with the initiatives offered by the UK and UK companies. But equally evident are the on-going endeavours and attention the UK has been devoting to Brazil in recent years, as demonstrated by the number of initiatives implemented by its government, including visits by high-level British authorities like Prime Minister.
David Cameron and Prince Harry midway through 2012. We hope these visits will continue in 2013, which will further enhance the agenda between the two nations, at a time when Brazil has become the sixth largest economy on the planet.
The year 2012 was also marked by the transition of the Olympic Games from London to Rio de Janeiro, which is hosting the largest sporting event of 2016. The intermingling of the two countries' cultures during the closing ceremony of the London games was emblematic and moving, an occasion when the feeling of respect and friendship between the two nations was palpable. As Brazil prepares to host two global events – the FIFA 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics – we believe there are vast opportunities for cooperation and business between the two countries, primarily in organisation and infrastructure.
In my second year as the National Chairman of Britcham, I believe that one of the greatest expectations of all members and council members is to make every effort to sustain the pace of growth in relations between Brazil and the UK. I have been involved in Britcham's activities for around eight years and it is my impression that the daunting challenges we have faced have not prevented us from always contributing substantially to furthering commercial ties between the two countries. The members of the administrative council have diligently strived to rejuvenate Britcham and you should all expect a number of profound changes in 2013 that will definitely have a significant impact on Britcham's role in the Brazilian market.
The actions and initiatives being discussed by our administrative council include enhanced cooperation with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), the British Council and the consulates and British Embassy in Brazil. We will further this cooperation across the board, which will ensure we play an increasingly important and stronger role in bilateral relations.
I am compelled to draw your attention to the importance of our committees and our excellent events and publications, which have become well established and respected in the Brazilian and UK communities and have done a great deal to develop our members' businesses. In my opinion the period before us will present numerous quality initiatives, surrounded by great expectation.
Lastly, I want to reiterate our core message and broader mission, which is to ensure the British Chamber meets the requirements of members -
our stakeholders - and increasingly engages with businesses and authorities in both countries while providing opportunities for productive networking.