On the heals of USCIB’s mid-March virtual meeting with newly sworn-in U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Todd C. Chapman, USCIB senior staff, led by Senior Vice President Rob Mulligan, had an excellent introductory call with Brazilian Ambassador Nestor Forster on April 2. Ambassador Forster, currently charge d’affaires heading the Brazilian Embassy in Washington DC, is awaiting formal confirmation by the Brazilian Senate to assume the title of Brazilian Ambassador to the U.S. Ambassador Forster reached out to USCIB seeking an early direct connection with the organization as the representative of U.S. business to the OECD and U.S. government on all things OECD, including accessions.
USCIB Senior Adviser Shaun Donnelly and Senior Director for Investment, Trade, and Financial Services Eva Hampl joined Mulligan on the call. Ambassador Forster’s embassy economic counselor also joined.
Ambassador Forster strongly reaffirmed Brazil, and its President Jair Bolsonaro’s, commitment to the OECD accession process as a key pillar of the government’s overall economic reform strategy and move to a more market-based, private sector-driven, competitive economy.
The Ambassador committed that the Brazilian Government would work closely with USCIB and other business organizations from OECD member countries in the “Business at OECD (BIAC)” consortium throughout the accession process – in Paris, in Brazil and in Washington.
“We were able to assure the Ambassador that USCIB and our member companies see Brazil’s OECD accession process as a high priority,” said Donnelly, who is a former U.S. Ambassador and now serves as USCIB’s senior adviser. “We were also able to preview some early specific priority areas where we expected the international business community and OECD member governments would be pressing Brazil for important reforms. We agreed to stay in close contact with Ambassador Forster’s team at the embassy.”
USCIB’s Hampl will be the key staff coordinator on accession issues but almost all USCIB policy staff and committees will be involved in the rigorous review of Brazil’s candidacy by each of the OECD’s committees and related bodies.
“We really appreciate Ambassador Forster making time for an early call with USCIB about Brazil’s OECD accession process,” said Mulligan. “We anticipate working closely with his embassy team, key U.S. government agencies, the OECD staff, our Brazilian counterpart business group CNI, and, of course, all our USCIB members and committees, throughout this important and rigorous accession process. As the formal accession process gets underway via a formal invitation letter from the OECD Secretary General, we will draw on our experience from Colombia’s accession process. But even in advance of that formal launch, we will begin seeking member company views and priorities on key issue areas.”
Several times during the meeting, Ambassador Forster emphasized that Brazil would also be seeking to negotiate a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States, at the same time as it is pressing ahead its OECD accession candidacy. USCIB staff indicated USCIB’s interest in such an agreement, noting it would need to comprehensive and high-standard.