Exploring the Ties That Bind Brazil and the U.S.

 Daniel Godinho, Secretary of Foreign Trade, Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade (MDIC), and Kenneth Hyatt, Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade, U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce), have released a joint statement outlining the results of the Brazil-U.S. Commercial Dialogue held in Brasília, Brazil, on November 17-19, 2015.

Building on the goodwill and momentum generated by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's official working visit to the United States on June 29-30, 2015, we are pleased to announce a renewed commitment to work together in a spirit of partnership to strengthen Brazil-US commercial relations.  To deepen our two nations' commercial and investment ties, we are glad to present the Commercial Dialogue's progress since its last meeting in March 2015, as well as plans to expand efforts through the Dialogue.
Standard and Conformity Assessment


 13rd Edition of the Brazil-US Commercial Dialogue Brasilia, Brazil, November 19, 2015.


Reflecting the growing importance of standards-related issues in the Brazil-US bilateral trade relationship, MDIC and Commerce signed a Memorandum of Intent (MOI) on Standards and Conformity Assessment on June 30th, 2015, during President Dilma Rousseff's official visit to the United States.  The MOI not only demonstrates both governments' intents to collaborate and conduct other activities on trade-related standards and conformity assessment processes, but it also serves as an umbrella agreement for numerous sectorial efforts targeted at facilitating bilateral commerce.  
Regarding the sectorial initiatives outlined in the MOI, MDIC and Commerce are pleased to recognize the collaboration of the Brazilian Association of Machinery and Equipment, the Brazilian Association of the Electric and Electronic Industry, the Brazilian Association of the Lighting Industry, and the United States certification company Underwriters Laboratories (UL).  This collaboration has culminated in UL's recent declaration that it is ready to execute many new laboratorial tests in Brazil as part of the grant of certification.  
Building on the excellent discussions at the March Plenary, MDIC and Commerce hosted the 2nd Brazil-US Standards and Conformance Convergence Roundtable in Brasilia on November 17th, 2015. Public and business standards stakeholders from both countries were given the chance to present actions they have done to improve bilateral trade through standard and conformity assessment collaboration.  In addition, MDIC and Commerce agreed to look into measures to support collaboration in the field of energy efficiency. 
MDIC and Commerce also held a workshop on the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), its Code of Good Practice, and the TBT Committee Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides, and Recommendations on November 18th, 2015, in order to promote greater cooperation and mutual understanding of international standards.  The event, which included leaders from the US and Brazil's governments, standards development organizations, and other industry stakeholders, facilitated fruitful discussions that contributed to a greater understanding of the US and Brazilian standards systems.
Cooperation on standards and conformity evaluation in the ceramic sector has evolved significantly since the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) and the Brazilian Ceramic Tile Manufacturers Industry Association (ANFACER) signed a Memorandum of Understanding in March 2015.  According to the agreed-upon work plan, TCNA and ANFACER identified each other's standard-related requirements, developed a common conformity assessment technique, conducted comparative studies between their respective laboratories, and analyzed the results.  The organizations are currently in the final of seven steps outlined in the work plan, which involves determining whether and how standards and conformity assessment convergence between the two ceramics industries will occur. 
Since March 2015, when the American National Standards Institute, the Brazilian Technical Standards Association, and Brazil's National Institute of Metrology, Quality, and Technology (INMETRO) agreed to establish an online Brazil-US standards portal, they have exchanged information on standards and regulations.  Translation of this information has already begun, and the portal is likely to be officially published in the coming months.   
Another sectorial initiative is developing in the textile sector, where the Brazilian Association of the Textile and Apparel Industry and the American Apparel & Footwear Association have agreed to initiate a comparative analysis of their respective standards and regulatory requirements in specific areas, which would allow for an objective assessment of the feasibility and interest from both sides in greater alignment of standards and conformity assessment or in 

INMETRO-UL Memorandum. 


On November 19, 2015, INMETRO's president, Professor João Alziro Herz, and UL's president of operations for Europe and Latin America, Gitte Schjotz, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop trade facilitation mechanisms in their respective operating areas.  To achieve the memorandum's objectives, the parties agreed to facilitate information exchange on best practices for conformity assessment and overcoming technical trade barriers, to promote scientific and technical interchange, and to improve industry knowledge of compliance requirements.
Regulatory Coherence
MDIC and Commerce are also pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOI) on Joint Cooperation on Regulatory Coherence and Meaningful Engagement with the Private Sector, signed on November 19th, 2015, by Brazil's Foreign Trade Chamber and Commerce's International Trade Administration.  The MOI establishes a mechanism for the exchange of knowledge and experiences on best regulatory practices, particularly those that have a direct impact on bilateral trade.  The MOI establishes an exchange of best regulatory practices between the United States and Brazil on mechanisms for improving domestic coordination, increasing transparency, and removing needless regulatory barriers.

Trade Facilitation


MDIC and Commerce have identified mutually beneficial trade facilitation priorities based on the trade facilitation MOI signed in March 2015, as well as the momentum and positive relationship demonstrated during President Rousseff's visit to Washington, D.C. in June, when the Presidents of Brazil and the United States stated the importance of sharing public-private sector best practices. 
According to the MOI, MDIC and Commerce have conferred with the corporate sectors in both countries and highlighted impediments to cross-border commodities movement that can be solved through trade facilitation efforts.  MDIC and Commerce have chosen to begin by investigating the use of electronic signatures to enable trade; investigating how to assist small and medium-sized businesses in making effective use of instruments to facilitate trade; and exchanging experiences.
Electronic Signatures - With input from the commercial sector, MDIC and Commerce highlighted the potential use of electronic signatures as a method that might reduce administrative constraints on bilateral commerce. MDIC and Commerce have begun conversations with key agencies to learn how each country manages its electronic certification issuing and control system. The possible benefits of using electronic signatures on papers exchanged in bilateral trade include paperless transactions, lower postal costs, instant transmission, and electronic storage of trade-related data.  Furthermore, the deployment of electronic signatures may enable future areas of trade, such as electronic papers and payments.

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