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On Monday, a high-level U.S. delegation led by National Security Advisor Ambassador Robert O’Brien arrived in Brazil, touted as the largest such U.S. diplomatic contingent to visit the country in many years. The official agenda included ongoing talks on the América Crece initiative, designed to encourage private-sector investment in energy infrastructure throughout the Americas.

In addition to Ambassador O’Brien, the delegation included U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Todd C. Chapman, Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) President and Chairman Kimberly Reed, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Nemelka, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation Managing Director of the Western Hemisphere Sabrina Teichman, and National Security Advisor and Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs Joshua Hodges.

Productive discussions

“Brazil is a vital economic partner of the United States. Our delegation, which is the largest U.S. economic delegation to visit Brazil in decades, reaffirms the Trump Administration’s commitment to freedom, economic growth, and prosperity in both countries,” said EXIM Chairman Reed. “It is an honor to join National Security Advisor Ambassador Robert O’Brien, and my interagency colleagues, as we focus on working toward a shared vision of expanding bilateral trade and investment between our countries. We had very productive discussions today with Brazil’s Minister of Economy Guedes and Foreign Minister Araújo, and we look forward to exciting developments tomorrow.”

In the afternoon, the delegation participated in a meeting with Brazil’s Minister of Economy Paulo Guedes on initiatives to increase U.S. investment in infrastructure and energy. The delegation also met with Brazil’s Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo to discuss joint measures between the U.S. and Brazil to foster economic and national security in the region.

During the day, the United States Trade Representative and Brazilian officials updated the agreement on trade and economic cooperation with new protocol on trade rules and transparency.

DFC projects

As part of the visit, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), which has a portfolio of 8 active projects in Brazil valued at more than $1 billion, announced two new letters of interest (LOI) in Brazilian infrastructure initiatives.

A $259 million investment guarantee was made to Smart Rio, which will modernize, maintain, and retrofit all existing public lighting fixtures, and expand current public lighting infrastructure and install cameras, Wifi access points, and smart transit controllers in Rio de Janeiro.

DFC also made a $300 million direct loan to support the expansion of investment bank BTG Pactual’s SME loan portfolio, with a portion of loan proceeds focusing on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) located in economically disadvantaged regions of the North and Northeast of Brazil.

Support for these two projects follows other recent, significant DFC financial commitments in Brazil. Under its covid-19 Rapid Response Liquidity Facility, DFC made a $400 million loan to diversified banking group Banco Itaú to support lending to SMEs. This program would focus on financial awards to women and the most underdeveloped states in the country.

Strategic metals

Additionally, DFC recently made a $25 million investment in privately held global metals miner TechMet Limited to boost the production capacity of Brazilian Nickel PLC, a cobalt and nickel mine in Piauí, Brazil. The project would create jobs in one of the most underdeveloped states in Brazil, while supporting TechMet’s aim of producing low-cost nickel and cobalt, which are used in the production of lithium ion batteries for EV cars and renewable energy storage.

In a statement confirming the TechMet deal earlier this month, Adam Boehler, CEO of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation said, “This important financing will support economic growth in one of Brazil’s most underdeveloped areas. Investments in critical materials for advanced technology support development and advance U.S. foreign policy.”

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