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British Consul General and Director of UKTI Brazil Welcome

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John Doddrell
John Doddrell,
British Consul General and 
Director of UKTI Brazil

2012 will be a very special year for the United Kingdom.  Moreover, there are good reasons to be confident that the strengthening of the relationship between the UK and Brazil will continue, and that this will result in increased business between our countries.

The year will be special because we will be celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who ascended to the throne in 1952 and has served the country magnificently over sixty years. It will also be a special year because London will host the Olympic Games, the greenest, most sustainable games ever. As a country, the eyes of the world will be on us.

Both of these events give us good reason to celebrate, despite the ongoing period of economic difficulty, and all of this is highly relevant to our country's relationship with Brazil. Her Majesty's visit to Brazil in 1968 is still spoken about with much affection and, as we saw during the Royal Wedding in 2011, the Royal Family is held in very high regard here. We shall certainly find opportunities to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee in Brazil during the course of the year.

The London Olympics are particularly significant for Brazil, because the Olympic torch will pass from London to Rio de Janeiro, where the next games will take place in 2016. It is no coincidence that a British company, AECOM UK, has been chosen to draw up the master-plan for the Rio Olympics. Those responsible for organising the Rio Olympics have a great admiration for what is being done in London. The urban regeneration, the recycling of materials, the use of renewable energy, the careful planning, the security arrangements and the legacy for the future are all highly relevant for Rio. So, there is good reason to be optimistic that many of the British companies who have worked on the London Olympics and associated infrastructure projects will, like AECOM UK, also have opportunities to use that expertise in Rio.

Following on from the London Olympics and Paralympics, we are planning a series of cultural and business events across Brazil aimed at showcasing what is great about the UK and to strengthen and deepen our bilateral relationship.

All of this is part of a determined effort by the British Government to rebuild our relationships with the countries of Latin America and especially Brazil. One hundred years ago, we were Brazil´s biggest trade partner. Now, it is great to hear people saying that "the British are back". Our best hope for getting out of the recession is to tie ourselves firmly to the big emerging economies of Brazil, China and India, but our offer is not simply one of buying commodities and selling cheap manufactured goods. British companies are here offering genuine partnerships, technology transfer, local manufacture, an ethical approach to business, a sustainable business model and, as we heard at a recent Britcham seminar, a significant contribution to addressing social concerns.

My experience is that Brazilian businesses welcome our approach and are pleased to see us back.  When we have trade missions in town, the residence buzzes with activity as our Brazilian guests engage with visitors and the trend is upwards! In one week in November, we had no fewer than six missions visiting Brazil. In 2011 we have had more British ministers than ever and in the first five months of 2011 our UKTI team provided 1500 "service assists" to British companies, almost exactly the same as in the whole of 2010. That trend looks set to continue in 2012 and we have plans in the pipeline for high level visits and strong business delegations.

The picture is encouraging. Success has brought some new resources, in spite of spending cuts.  We have been able to employ a few more people in the UKTI / Embassy network, some of whom will go to the new Consulate General in Recife opened at the end of November. Our Consul in Recife and his team will be charged with seeking out the commercial opportunities in the north-east of Brazil and bringing more British companies to the region. Beyond our established hubs of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, we now have UKTI representation in Recife, Porto Alegre and Belo Horizonte. If I can get the resources, I would like to expand that network even further to cover some of the other thriving cities across Brazil.

John Doddrell,
British Consul General and Director of UKTI Brazil



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