As economists and journalists seek out ways to better define emerging economies, Brazil finds itself frequently mentioned in two categories: BRIC, which stands for Brazil, Russia, India, and China and the Big Emerging Market (BEM) economies which, in alphabetical order are: Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and Turkey; these groups comprise the fastest emerging economies in the world today.
With commodity-driven surpluses and solid economic policies, Brazil’s economy has ridden out world economic crises and continues to grow at a rapid pace. The economic policies currently in place in Brazil include a floating exchange rate, inflation targeting, and a tight fiscal policy.
According to a 2009 United Nations report, Brazil is the largest foreign direct investment (FDI) recipient in Latin America. While Brazil is generally considered a friendly environment for foreign investment, burdensome tax and regulatory requirements exist. In most cases these impediments apply without discrimination, the Government of Brazil makes no distinction between foreign or domestic capital and firms. Brazil’s economic inequality has been progressively declining since the 90’s, creating a large and burgeoning middle class; this large domestic market and the advantageous business climate far outweigh any obstacles to doing business in this dynamic country.
In Brazil, it’s important to be aware that doing business IS a type of social interaction; people need to get acquainted and comfortable with each other before getting down to business. When calling someone on the phone in Brazil, remember to chat first and talk business second. The people of Brazil take pride in their dress, so weather-appropriate but business formal is best. Both men and women should bring a well-tailored suit or jacket when traveling on business to Brazil.
It is customary to not engage someone on a first name basis in Brazil until you are invited to do so. The North American custom of first names in the work place is quite disconcerting to Brazilians, who are accustomed to a very formal way of addressing each other. The Portuguese “senhor” for men and “senhora” for women should also be used.
When scheduling meetings allow for some degree of lateness (this does not apply to employee’s arrival to work); it is important to be patient in Brazil, slow down and remember where you are. Investing your time and care will result in lasting relationships and continued business in this vibrant and economically growing country!