Prime Minister David Cameron took a delegation of more than 50 business leaders on a trade mission to Brazil today, saying the U.K. has been failing to penetrate the world’s second-largest emerging market.
“We have two of the largest economies in the world and we both have traditions of trading with partners all over the world, yet our bilateral trade relationship has been underperforming.” Cameron told the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo in an interview published today, according to a transcript provided by the premier’s office. “The U.K. accounts for only 1.5 percent of Brazil’s imports compared to Germany, who account for 6.4 percent.”
Among the delegation accompanying Cameron are representatives of companies including BAE Systems Plc, HSBC Holdings Plc, BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc.
Cameron announced two deals for British companies in Brazil today, building on the success of this year’s London Olympics. Blue Cube GB Ltd. won the contract to provide 64,000 seats in the stadium in the northern Brazilian city of Fortaleza for the 2014 soccer World Cup, and Vero MLA True Communications will provide public relations linked to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Earlier, Cameron opened a new 60 million-pound ($97 million) assembly plant developed by JC Bamford Excavators Ltd. at Sorocaba, near Sao Paulo, with an annual capacity of 10,000 construction machines, including backhoe loaders and heavy excavators.
“This visit is about British jobs, British growth and the British economy, because I want Britain to be tied up to the fastest growing economies on the planet,” Cameron told reporters at the plant. “Brazil is now a top-six economy and this visit is about safeguarding and creating 3,000 jobs back at home.”
Cameron went on to meet Maria Das Gracas Silva Foster, the chief executive officer of state-owned Petroleo Brasileiro SA. The prime minister sought to convince the energy company to invest in U.K. companies based on Britain’s 40 years of experience in the North Sea oil and gas sector.