On 13 November 2013, State Secretary Machnig opened the 35th German-Brazilian Business Days, which this year are being held in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre (which is situated in the state of Rio Grande do Sul). Brazil is Germany’s number-one trading partner in Latin America. Around 1,600 German businesses have invested in the country, creating some 250,000 jobs. State Secretary Machnig is also chairing the 44th German-Brazilian Joint Commission for Economic Cooperation, which is taking place at the same time as the Business Days. This joint economic commission was the first such bilateral body created by Germany.
Said State Secretary Machnig: “Germany and Brazil are united by a long and successful tradition. German companies have proved to be reliable partners, even in times of economic difficulty. But Brazil can offer a great deal of potential that is yet untapped. There is ample opportunity for greater cooperation in fields like energy, infrastructure, digitisation and modernisation.”
There are around 200 German companies based in the state of Rio Grande de Sul alone. The state is also known for having been the first to receive immigrants from Germany.
Brazil is currently holding the Presidency of Mercosur, an economic alliance that was formed by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay and which which the EU is negotiating on a . Said State Secretary Machnig: “An ambitious and well-balanced EU-Mercosur free trade agreement would send an important message, particularly at a time when protectionist instincts are gaining traction in some countries. Global competition and value chains that are becoming ever more international create a need for open markets that allow our economies to remain strong.”
State Secretary Machnig and Ambassador and Deputy Foreign Minister of Brazil Marcos Galvão used the opportunity presented by the German-Brazilian Joint Economic Commission for a bilateral meeting. Both policy-makers underlined the fact that their respective countries are supportive of an Association Agreement to be swiftly concluded between the European Union and Mercosur. They agreed that an agreement of this kind will provide a boost to trade and investment between the two economic areas and reaffirmed their commitment to working with their regional partners in order to pursue an ambitious, comprehensive and well-balanced agreement that will benefit both sides. Both men expressed the view that the chances of reaching an agreement have never been better than now and called for the present window of opportunity to be used.