HEARING ADVISORY: Chairman Nunes Announces Hearing on U.S.-Brazil Trade and Investment Relationship: Opportunities and Challenges

June 12, 2013 — Hearing Advisory   


House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) today announced that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing on U.S.-Brazil trade relations.  The hearing will focus on the growing trade and investment relationship between the two countries, the challenges facing U.S. job creators in this vibrant and dynamic market, and how to maximize constructive bilateral engagement – including adequate parliamentary involvement and oversight – regarding these opportunities and challenges.  The hearing will take place on Wednesday, June 12, 2013, in 1100 Longworth House Office Building, beginning at 10:00 A.M.

In view of the limited time available to hear the witnesses, oral testimony at this hearing will be from invited witnesses only.  However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing.  A list of invited witnesses will follow.


The U.S.-Brazil trade is among our most important and promising trade relationships.  Brazil has been the United States’ eighth largest trading partner on average over the last five years, exceeding $59 billion in two-way trade in 2012 and generating a U.S. trade surplus of over $5.5 billion.  Yet, U.S.-Brazil trade has substantial room to grow.  Brazil’s trade-to-GDP ratio is rising rapidly, from 16 percent a decade ago to 24 percent in 2011 – but its ratio remains one of the lowest in the world.  Brazil’s economy is large and has strong growth potential.  At over $2.4 trillion, Brazil’s gross domestic product (GDP) is roughly equal to that of the United Kingdom (the world’s sixth-largest economy), double that of Canada, a third larger than those of India and Russia, and one-third that of China.  Brazil’s economy has grown rapidly during most of the last two decades, reaching its fastest pace of growth in 2010, with annual growth exceeding 7.5 percent.  GDP growth since 2011 has been slow, however.

U.S.-Brazil investment flows are also promising.  U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into Brazil grew from over $5 billion in 2000 to over $12 billion in 2012, while Brazilian FDI flows into the United States grew from over $100 million in 2000 to over $1.8 billion in 2012.

Historically, the Brazilian government has not pursued bilateral trade and investment engagement, including with the United States, outside of the MERCOSUR arrangement with Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay (temporarily suspended), and Venezuela.  The current U.S. and Brazilian administrations have substantially increased bilateral dialogue, including repeated presidential-level engagement and a proliferation of lower-level bilateral dialogues involving numerous U.S. departments and Brazilian ministries.  The only state visit to Washington in 2013 will be by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who will visit the White House on October 23.

The U.S.-Brazil trade and investment relationship presents both opportunities and challenges.  Brazil’s industrial policy makes use of industrial tariff rate increases made possible by Brazil’s high bound rates in the WTO, subsidized finance, and forced localization rules, including local content requirements.  But there are also many encouraging commercial developments, as well as an increased willingness in Brazil to engage bilaterally on an expanded constructive trade and investment agenda.

In announcing the hearing, Trade Subcommittee Chairman Nunes said, “Our trade and investment relationship with Brazil should be recognized as one of the United States’ most important. Viewing Brazil simply as one of the BRICS underestimates its emerging leadership role in the developed world and the growing desire among its elected officials and Brazilian business for deeper integration into the global supply chain for goods and services. I look forward to exploring ways to improve the various U.S.-Brazil dialogues in order to advance our mutually beneficial relationship at this promising moment.”


The hearing will explore current U.S.-Brazil trade and investment issues and analyze whether they prove ripe for inclusion in an expanded and constructive bilateral trade and investment agenda.  Among the issues to be discussed are (1) deepening and expanding the long-term trade and investment relationship with Brazil; (2) the strengths and weaknesses of existing bilateral forums for engagement on trade and investment policy; (3) evaluating Brazil’s industrial policy, including its high industrial tariffs, local content rules, and forced localization practices; (4) concerns regarding barriers to bilateral agricultural and ethanol trade; (5) mutually beneficial opportunities to lower barriers to U.S. services trade, especially in Brazil’s large energy and infrastructure sector; (6) potential collaboration on innovation and intellectual property rights, to facilitate more high-tech trade; (7) simplification of Brazil’s cumbersome border and behind-the-border regulatory measures; (8) Brazil’s use of the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences, of which Brazil is the third-largest beneficiary; (9) engagement within multilateral forums such as the World Trade Organization; and (10) collaboration on third-country policies that present opportunities and challenges for both the United States and Brazil.


Please note: Any person(s) and/or organization(s) wishing to submit for the hearing record must follow the appropriate link on the hearing page of the Committee website and complete the informational forms. From the Committee homepage, https://waysandmeans.house.gov, select “Hearings.”  Select the hearing for which you would like to submit, and click on the link entitled, “Click here to provide a submission for the record.”  Once you have followed the online instructions, submit all requested information.  ATTACH your submission as a Word document, in compliance with the formatting requirements listed below, by the close of business on Wednesday, June 26, 2013.  Finally, please note that due to the change in House mail policy, the U.S. Capitol Police will refuse sealed-package deliveries to all House Office Buildings.  For questions, or if you encounter technical problems, please call (202) 225-1721 or (202) 225-3625.


The Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.  As always, submissions will be included in the record according to the discretion of the Committee.  The Committee will not alter the content of your submission, but we reserve the right to format it according to our guidelines.  Any submission provided to the Committee by a witness, any supplementary materials submitted for the printed record, and any written comments in response to a request for written comments must conform to the guidelines listed below.  Any submission or supplementary item not in compliance with these guidelines will not be printed, but will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.

1. All submissions and supplementary materials must be provided in Word format and MUST NOT exceed a total of 10 pages, including attachments. Witnesses and submitters are advised that the Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.

2. Copies of whole documents submitted as exhibit material will not be accepted for printing. Instead, exhibit material should be referenced and quoted or paraphrased.  All exhibit material not meeting these specifications will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.

3. All submissions must include a list of all clients, persons and/or organizations on whose behalf the witness appears.  A supplemental sheet must accompany each submission listing the name, company, address, telephone, and fax numbers of each witness.

The Committee seeks to make its facilities accessible to persons with disabilities.  If you are in need of special accommodations, please call 202-225-1721 or 202-226-3411 TTD/TTY in advance of the event (four business days notice is requested).  Questions with regard to special accommodation needs in general (including availability of Committee materials in alternative formats) may be directed to the Committee as noted above.

Note: All Committee advisories and news releases are available on the World Wide Web at http://www.waysandmeans.house.gov/.