Brazil will open center at Miami Free Zone
By Claudio Mendonça
The Brazilian government this month will open a distribution center at the Miami Free Zone with plans to attract 40 businesses in one year to the Doral site.
Starting May 16, Brazilian firms will be able to use the facility's showroom, warehouse and office space as a point of entry to the US. The country's public-private organization Agencia de Promoçao e Exportaçoes do Brasil, or APEX, will manage the 10,000-square-foot facility.
Forty companies representing sectors such as technology, furniture, granite and apparel are involved in the project, said APEX President Juan Quiros.
He said Brazil hopes to use the Doral site to coordinate business statewide, eventually attracting 300 companies in the next three years.
"APEX has the potential to generate $7 million in South Florida payroll," said Gary Goldfarb, vice president of the Miami Free Zone in Doral. He said the 40 businesses will employ an average five people.
Mr. Goldfarb said $1 billion in business flows through the free zone annually. With the arrival of the Brazilian agency, Mr. Goldfarb said, he expects that number to double.
APEX is spending $250,000 to $300,000 on the three-year lease and initially will employ eight staffers.
Atlanta, San Francisco and Houston competed for the Brazilian trade office, the first the country is opening worldwide.
State officials, through Enterprise Florida, and Miami-Dade County's International Trade Consortium each granted $12,500 to attract APEX.
"We want to show that Brazil is a lot more than coffee, soccer and Carnival," said Mr. Quiros, a University of Miami alumnus. "Today, our country manufactures airplanes and is a major producer of software technology."