Facts & Figures: In 2011 Brazil was the sixth largest economy of the world with a GDP of $2.476.652 million US dollars (TheWorldbank,2011).  Over a period of 5 years from 2005 till 2010, the average annual growth rate of the GDP of Brazil was 4.4% (OECD Economic Surveys Brazil, 2011). The annual growth rate of the GDP rises to 7.5 per cent in 2010, the highest annual  growth rate since 1986 (OECD Economic Surveys Brazil, 2011). For 2012, the forecasts are positive seeing the reduction of the interest rates for private and corporate clients and lower taxes on consumer goods. These changes will be in favor of the domestic Brazilian activities and will be assisted by the adjustment of the minimum wage for the labour market. Besides these consequences there will be more public and private investments for the FIFA World Cup 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016, which will have a positive impact on the GDP (BBVA research, 2012).

Sectors: The greatest sector of the Brazilian economy is the services sector, which is good for 58 per cent of the total GDP. Health and education and also the commerce services are the most important services in Brazil (J.P. Morgan, 2011). Second greatest sector is the industrial sector with 22 per cent of the total GDP. Taxes and agriculture are the smallest sectors with respectively 15 and 5 per cent.

Labour market & consumer spending: Over the last couple of years, the unemployment rate has improved significantly, despite of the economic crisis. The unemployment rate dropped from 9.3% in January 2006 (Cherman & Akira, 2011) to 6.0% in Q1 of 2012 (Brazilian Ministry of Finance, 2012). In 2012 more than 2 million new jobs were created. There were also improvements in the wages in terms of the real wages which increased significantly. Furthermore, the increase of the middle class resulted in an increase of potential consumers who were able to buy things they could not buy before, especially with access to credit. Brazil’s large population in combination with the growing middle class has resulted in Brazil having one of the world’s largest consumer markets, ranked 9th out of 133 countries by the World Economic Forum.

Import & Export: In 2010, Brazil is still one of the greatest commodity exporters in the world. The European Union was responsible for almost 22% of Brazil’s total imports. Imports have increased rapidly since Brazil combined strong economic growth with a strong exchange rate. In 2010, imports totaled US$ 181.6 billion and this makes Brazil the second--‐largest importer in terms of volume of Latin America.

Investments: Making use of foreign savings is also a strategy to finance Brazil’s large investment needs. Foreign direct investment (FDI) that are often associated with knowledge and technology transfer brings direct and indirect productivity benefits for host countries (Arnold and Javorcik, 2009; in OECD, 2011).

Major economic cities

Sao Paolo: São Paolo is known as the economic engine of Brazil. It is characterized as the most important state in Brazil when it comes to economy and industry. Besides that the state has the most inhabitants, largest surface area, biggest consumer market and is the richest state of Brazil (Source: Investe São Paulo). São Paolo has a contribution of 33 per cent of the total GDP in Brazil in 2009. The economic activity in São Paulo is mainly focused on the services. Besides that, the service sector generates the most wealth of all the sectors in São Paulo, namely 69% per cent. Second is the industry sector which creates 29 per cent of the wealth.

Rio de Janeiro: Rio de Janeiro (translation is January river) is the number one destination of tourists in Brazil, receiving more than 35% of the total amount of those who visit the country (The Brazil Business, 2011c). The city will be one of the hosting cities for the 2014 World Cup and will be the only city hosting the 2016 Olympics. Rio de Janeiro is the second largest economical city in Brazil. It is located in the southeast region which is the wealthiest region of the country and concentrates a highly skilled manpower, as it hosts the most important universities in the country. Opportunities for Dutch companies can be found in crude oil and natural gas, tourism, port operations, infrastructure projects, transport, logistics and shipbuilding. Other opportunities in sectors where Dutch companies are experienced: supply to car-­‐industry, consultancy in logistics, ports and airports, environment and security (ABN AMRO & MKB, 2008).