One-stop office in Miami to give Brazilian trade businesses a boost
By Paola Iuspa
The American Chamber of Commerce of Sao Paolo and a consulting firm in Boca Raton are creating a one-stop trade office in Miami to help Brazilian companies secure a presence here.
The chamber, in partnership with the Oxford Street Consulting group, on Dec. 5 is to open the Brazilian Business Bureau in the Miami Free Zone, 2305 NW 107th Ave. The free zone complex has warehouse space where foreign goods that are stored, assembled or altered are tax exempted if shipped to other countries.
The zone is home to US Customs offices, banking facilities, customs brokers and freight forwarders. The bureau will be a place where US importers will go to view Brazilian products and learn about Brazilian exporters, said Fernando Spatari, a manager with Oxford Street.
For a monthly fee of $700, small and mid-size Brazilian companies will have a presence in Miami as the bureau will provide staff, market analyses for their products, showroom space to display merchandise and brochures and booth space in trade shows and fairs. Other benefits include assistance in obtaining financing for trade activity and legal advice.
Mr. Spatari said this will be the partnership's first bureau in the US but he plans others in New York and other major cities.
"The bureau will save money to Brazilian exporters as they won't need to have their own office in the US," he said. "We will offer them all the logistical solutions."
The 30-year-old Oxford group assists foreign companies in every stage of their expansion into the US, from market research and US incorporation to marketing and product promotion as well as accounting and legal assistance, he said.
Francisco Prado, a chamber general consultant, said his group has already recruited 10 companies and expects to attract another 10 in the next few months.
Helping smaller companies expand their export business has been the chamber's main goal in the past year, said Julia Barbosa, a legal consultant with the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff in Miami.
"Small and medium companies represent 90% of Brazil's economy," said Mr. Barbosa, whose firm will provide bureau members with legal help on issues related to customs and immigration law, export contracts and taxes.
Creating the bureau in Florida is another step in the chamber's yearlong 'How to Export' program, which consists of seminars held across Brazil and published guides on selling products to the US market, he said. While Brazilian exporters will learn about the bureau through the chamber, he said, they do not need to be members to join the bureau.
This office, funded with private money, will add another option to a rainbow of public and nonprofit groups based in South Florida and armed to help promote trade between Florida and Brazil, the state's largest trade partner with about $17.5 billion worth of trade activity.
Eduardo de Mattos Hosannah, deputy consul general of Brazil in Miami, said he will inform exporters and importers of the new office. He said Brazilian business owners seeking guidance on how to enter the American market often go to him for advice. His job is to suggest places where they could get assistance.
"The bureau is another option for Brazilians companies coming to us for guidance," he said. "We don't recommend or endorse any organization in particular. We tell them about all the different organizations, and it is up to them to choose one."
Mr. Hosannah said the bureau could help increase business between Brazil and the US, currently trading about $33 billion worth of goods a year.