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Re: [latam] For Comment - Brazil Risk Briefing

Released on 2012-08-02 04:00 GMT

Email-ID 140775
Date 2011-10-11 13:38:59
comments in red.


Does Brazil have a stable legal system and rule of law?

A. Brazil has a relatively stable and gradually improving
legal system

A. Courts are largely overburdened with cases and pursuing
breaches of contract can take years, at a high cost

A. Throughout the Brazilian system, creatively circumventing
the law is a cultural norm

Is there a tradition of government secession and stable transition in the
country? If so, when will the next significant elections take place? If
not, are revolutions and coups common?

A. Government transitions have been stable since the end of
the military dictatorship in the 1980s

A. The next national level elections will be held in 2014,
during which the presidency and congressional seats will be up for dispute

A. A plebiscite at the end of 2011 will decide whether or not
to split the northeastern state of ParA! into three separate legal

What is the political and economic relationship like between the United
States and Brazil?

A. The United States and Brazil have a primarily cooperative
relationship, punctuated with periodic disagreements

A. As Brazil grows in economic and political strength, it has
begun to see itself as a power with the potential to rival the United
States in the Western Hemisphere.

A. Brazilian-US relations can at times be standoffish and

A. Brazil seeks to strategically hinder US influence in South
America, a policy that has largely been facilitated by US focus on other
regions of the world over the past two decades.

A. The United States is the main source of foreign investment,
and a major trading partner.

Who are Brazila**s primary trading partners?

A. Brazila**s primary trading partner is China, to which
Brazil exports primarily raw commodities.

A. The United States and Argentina are Brazila**s next most
important trade partners. Both import manufactured goods from Brazil,
which helps to compensate for the impact of Chinaa**s recent flood of
interest in raw commodities.

Is there material regional differences found in the country, such as
tribal and religious influences?

A. Most investment and population centers are located along
the coastal regions.

A. The area around Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are
particularly well developed and becoming more so as local oil deposits
become developed. Many areas in the State of Minas Gerais is pretty
industrialized and are not along the coast, just like Serra Gaucha in the
state of Rio Grande do Sul, which is the second largest metal mechanic
industrial area in Brazil.

A. Outside of the main population centers, Brazil is
characterized by a slowly developing agricultural sector in the south and
southwest (agriculture in the south has been developing from a long time,
Brazil is one of the main grain producers in the world, it is not a slowly
developing agricultural sector) , the Amazon rainforest in the northwest
and poor, less developed regions in the northeast. Keep in mind that in
Manaus, in Amazon, there is zona franca de Manaus where there are 600 main
multinational and national high tech companies producing electronic

A. Overall, there is a high level of regional competition in
Brazil. States compete heavily with one another for funding from federal
sources, and individual Brazilians tend to feel a strong affinity for
their home state a** something that can influence federal policy depending
on the individuals in power.

What is the general business structure found in each country and are there
families or other types of entities that control large components of

A. Brazil boasts a large number of corporations that dominate
the business landscape, as well as many medium and small companies in the

A. Brazila**s biggest companies enjoy a great deal of
government support both on the domestic scene and in international

A. A number of families and individuals feature prominently on
the Brazilian business system, including: Rede Globo is bigger than
Bandeirantes and SBT together and is commanded by MarinhoA's family. Rede
Globo is the 3rd largest tv commercial tv in the world only loosing to CBS
and NBC. I would also include here the Setubal and Moreira Sakes and
families that own the Itau-Unibanco which is the second largest Latin
American Bank.

o Bandeirantes Communications Group, a media conglomerate that
controls many Television channels and Radio Stations. a** Controlled
mostly by the Saad family.

o Odebretch S. A a** Conglomerate expanded into many fields,
primarily construction-related. Controlled by the Odebretch family.

o Gerdau a** 17th largest Steel Producer in the world, founded by the
Gerdau family

o SBT a** Sistema Brasileiro de TelevisA-L-o, founded and operated by
Silvio Santos.

o The EBX conglomerate a** Operator of various spin-off companies
like OGX (oil and gas) and MMX (mining), it Is owned by Brazilian
billionair, Eike Batista.

o RBS a** Media conglomerate prevalent in Brazila**s south that is
owned by the Sikortsky family

o Klabin a** A paper products and paper recycler owned by the Klabin

Is corruption common? Is it possible to conduct business in the country
without violating the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or other
regulations? How does a**corruptiona** manifest itself in business?

A. Corruption is very prevalent in Brazil

A. Bribery, influence peddling and nepotism are common and
Brazilians often consider it a point of pride to creatively circumvent the

A. It should not, however, be considered quite as corrupt or
as damaging an environment as Mexico.

A. Nevertheless, business done in Brazil should be done with
extreme caution so as to not violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

In regards to the regulatory environment, are the same regulations in
place and enforced for foreign businesses as they are for domestic

A. Taxes at the federal level are legally identical for both
foreign and domestic companies. At a state level there have been
complaints that value-added taxes have been applied unevenly depending on
the nationality of the company.

A. Though the government largely divested itself of
state-owned companies, it remains heavily involved in Brazila**s economy.
Powerful Brazilian companies such as electricity firm Eletrobras and
hydrocarbons firm Petrobras remain government controlled despite being
largely privatized.

A. Businesses should be prepared for heavy government
championing of domestic firms as a general rule.

A. Public procurement is heavily biased towards products of
Brazilian companies.

A. Many sectors are subject to foreign ownership limitations,
including media, communications, aviation, transportation, and mining

Are environmental regulations in place and are such regulations properly

A. Brazil has implemented a number of environmental norms and
regulations. Enforcement is not always possible.

A. Enforcement in urban areas where there is a government
presence is much more likely and common than in more rural areas.

A. Every business considering investing in Brazil should be
aware that environmental issues can quickly become political. Because of
national cultural attitudes about the environmental status of the Amazon
rainforest, issues of environmental degradation can take on a national

A. Should an environmental issue become politicized, protests
can be expected.

Is there a tradition of capitalism and respect for private property or are
nationalizations and seizures of natural resources or foreign companies
operating in any sector common?

A. Nationalizations are not generally a problem in Brazil

How difficult is it for a U.S. company to get money in and out of each
country after investing in a country's bank or mining operations? For
example, are there repatriation limits of moving earnings? Are there
onerous taxes and regulations on earnings?

A. Brazil is currently experiencing extreme upward pressure on
the value of the Brazilian currency, the Real. Caused by inflows of
foreign direct and portfolio investment, the inflows have harmed Brazilian
exports and encouraged higher consumer spending. As a result, the
government has imposed limited capital restrictions including:

o Inflows for fixed income investments -- 6%

o Inflows for portfolio investments -- 2%

o Capital Gains Remmitances -- 15%

o Profits on FDI Remitances -- 0.38%

o Remmittances related to technology transfers -- 25%

Is STRATFOR aware of any possible changes to taxation, removing money from
the country, or any other types of capital constraints in general? There
is a new tax for health care tax that the govt wants to created by the end
of this year or next year. A rough draft is being analyzed by Congress and
the minister of institutional relations, Ideli Salvati said that she hopes
this tax can be created soon. The govt thought to create a tax for
financial transactions, but Congress rejected and is thinking about a
different one.

A. While we are not aware of anything in specific planned by
Brazil, it should be noted that Brazil has structural constraints that
make inflation a perennial problem for the country. Without sufficient
infrastructure, costs tend to rise quickly, with the impact felt
immediately by Brazila**s poor.

A. The combination of factors means that Brazil will
consistently seek to limit growth in order to mitigate inflationary

What are the major security threats for foreign business travelers and
country-based nationals working in each country, to include threats posed
by terrorism, crime, political stability and war and insurgency?

A. The major threat in Brazil is by criminal organizations and
petty crime

A. Cargo theft, smuggling and drug trafficking are exceedingly
prevalent in Brazil and should be taken into account in any investment.

A. Any personnel traveling in Brazil should exercise standard
levels of situational awareness for traveling in Latin America, as armed
robbery, kidnapping and other crimes are prevalent.

Is there a presence of revolutionary or secessionist groups? If so, how
much of a risk do they pose to the government and foreign businesses and
their employees operating in the country?

A. There are no major revolutionary or secessionist groups in

In regards to the abovementioned questions, are any major shifts in the
present conditions expected within the next ten years?

A. The world Cup in 2014 and the summer Olympics of 2016 will
be held in Rio de Janeiro as well as other cities around the country. In
the lead up to these events, the government will seek to crack down on
local criminal organizations, generating short term destabilization in
these areas. There will be an increase in economic development efforts
during that time.

A. The factors leading to brazila**s current boom are largely
dependent on favorable international conditions and the boom generated by
the stabilization in the early 1990s of the countrya**s economy. The
current rate of growth and development should be considered with caution
in the absence of major overhauls to the Brazilian economic and
infrastructure systems. Without significant improvement of the base level
education in Brazil, the cost of skilled labor should be expected to rise
significantly over the long haul. Limited infrastructure will mean high
competition for inherently restricted resources, causing bottlenecks in

Karen Hooper
Latin America Analyst
o: 512.744.4300 ext. 4103
c: 512.750.7234