Brazil and Germany are among the winners in EU-Latin American trade, while Venezuela is among the losers.
BY THIERRY OGIER
SAO PAULO – When German automaker Audi wanted to make a splash among wealthy Brazilians recently, it invited 12 Brazilian CEOs to fly first class to Istanbul, Turkey. Audi treated them like sultans, put them at the legendary Çiragan palace and incidentally, let them experience its new A8 model. It ended up selling four of this new luxury model to its guests. This is an example – somewhat extreme – of how much European companies are ready to invest to gain market shares in Brazil.
Brazil is already the top trading partner in Latin America for the European Union. Last year trade between the two areas jumped 34.3 percent to 63.6 billion euros (US$85 billion).
“This is really the best time in the last 30 years,” says Frédéric Donier, a French native and a partner with Crescendo, a business intelligence consultant in São Paulo. Business delegations have been flocking to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro from most parts of the old continent, keeping various chambers of commerce busy.
But Brazil isn’t the only country seeing increased business with the trade group. European Union trade with Latin America set a new record in 2010, with smaller countries such as Paraguay and Luxembourg posting some of the biggest growth, according to an analysis by Latin Business Chronicle.
Trade between the two regions jumped 31 percent for the year to reach 177.3 billion euros (US$236.9 billion). Europe’s sales to Latin America ...