Doing Business between Spain and Brazil

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Interviewee Antonio del Corro with Laura Sevilla, in the CCBE head office in Madrid

MADRID – It is not always easy to find the right person to interview, however it was a real pleasure to be able to meet Antonio Del Corro and have a distended conversation with him in his office, discussing the current situation of Brazil and sharing our experiences in the country. As the Chief Executive of the Chamber of Commerce Brazil-Spain, Antonio is in charge of different tasks, all related with helping and giving information to the entrepreneurs for doing business both in Spain and Brazil. The Chamber also offers recommendations and contacts as well as they organize speeches, conferences, events, seminars, etc. The Association provides all kind of tools for the entrepreneurs to develop their business between the two countries. Antonio Del Corro has a really interesting background; he studied Law and did a master in Business Administration. Regarding his professional experience, he had been the chief director in different Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela and vice-president in Miami among other professional experiences. He has mostly developed his career in Latin America.

The Chamber of Commerce is located in “Casa do Brasil” in Madrid, a space where Brazil is present and in which culture, business and youngness coexist together. The chamber is designated to create a link to develop business between Brazil and Spain and after 50 years accomplishing this task, we observe that the CCBE is an institution with a lot of experience in the sector. It is an independent non-profit association counting nowadays with more than 400 members all related with all size businesses between the two countries. Antonio describes the importance of this association based on the numbers “90% of the Spanish investment in Brazil is done by the companies represented by this Chamber and it has an accumulated stock of 71 billion euros”. As we can observe, this is a huge quantity and shows the importance of the union between the countries.

One relevant topic is also to know more about the function of the chamber and about the activities that are not directly linked with doing business. Antonio explains the two main events the chamber carries out to make networking between the associates. The first one is a dinner and the second one is a big event that will take place the December, the 2nd in which the Chamber tries to honor the entrepreneurs in three different categories; the entrepreneur of the year, one prize related with sport and one social prize that usually goes to a NGO. “What we try is to give a high visibility to entrepreneurs that have given priority in increasing relations between Brazil and Spain” and reveals that this year the social prize will go to an NGO in Rio de Janeiro that tries to help children in the favelas. The prize to the entrepreneur of the year will go to Ignacio Martin, Gamesa CEO, “Gamesa has an important presence in Brazil in energetic issues” he adds.

When it comes to talk about the economy in Brazil and the opportunities that this giant can offer, the answer is complicated, “The challenges doing business with Brazil are always present”. Antonio explains the difficulties that Brazil is facing in their economy; the inflation is increasing, the growth is going to be negative this year and the currency is in constant devaluation. However he makes a comparison with the hard time Spain was dealing with not so long ago and he keeps positive “If we were able to deal with the crisis and the difficult situation, I also trust in Brazil’s recovery”. He exposes that the country has an important market of more than 200 million people and more than three quarter of those people are part of a social middle class that is nowadays consuming all kind of products.

During the discussion, I introduced the idea that the Olympic Games could be an engine to ameliorate the economy however Antonio is not really persuaded by that idea. He explains that after the 90’s, the different governments have promoted different programs called “plans to accelerate growth” in which they have invested more than 600 billion dollars in different areas of the economy such as energy and infrastructure. As Antonio says “Brazil is a giant that still needs to make improvements in their infrastructure and that is where the Spanish companies can take advantage”. Let us take note of his comments.


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