2nd Brazil-Canada Economic Forum discusses challenges for international trade growth

Integration of production chains, trade agreements, and a favorable investment environment, with a positive microeconomic agenda, were some of the topics highlighted by the panelists

By Silvia Pimentel

The trade flow between Brazil and Canada ended 2023 at US$ 9.15 billion, very close to the historical record of 2022, when it surpassed the US$ 10 billion mark for the first time, and it continues to trend upward. There are numerous opportunities to be explored to increase and strengthen bilateral exchange, especially in the areas of innovation and technology. This was one of the topics discussed during the 2nd Brazil-Canada Economic Forum, held on June 10 by the Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce (CCBC), which also addressed a possible Mercosur-Canada Free Trade Agreement, artificial intelligence, ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance), and energy transition.

“We need to advance the integration of production chains, with the increase in uranium exports from Caetité (Bahia), for example, and thereby enter Canada’s developing technological routes for the manufacture of small nuclear reactors, one of the solutions for the energy transition,” advocated Carlos França, Brazil’s ambassador to Canada, during the event.

Carlos França, Brazilian ambassador to Canada

As Canada’s third-largest trading partner, behind the United States and Mexico, Brazil is assuming an increasingly important and strategic role for the country, according to Emmanuel Kamarianakis, Canada’s ambassador to Brazil, who also spoke during the Forum.

“We hope to move forward with other trade agreements, in addition to those secured through Embraer, which could also be boosted via Mercosur,” he said, highlighting the importance of the high level of investments on both sides for strengthening bilateral relations. According to Kamarianakis, Canadian investments in Brazil total approximately 80 billion Canadian dollars.

Emmanuel Kamarianakis, Canadian ambassador to Brazil


Keynote speaker of the event, economist Marcos Lisboa, former president of Insper, addressed Brazil’s particularities, such as high volatility, and the need for the productive sector and investors to pay more attention to so-called tail risks.

“It is a country marked by 26 years of growth in the range of 3% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product), but which suffered 14 years of significant declines. It is a country where public spending cannot be cut due to a constitutional issue, and this is very difficult to explain to investors. At most, it is possible to control its evolution,” he pointed out.

In Lisboa’s opinion, the country’s economic growth is linked to a microeconomic agenda, composed of clear rules for the credit market, access to capital, legislative changes, and governance of regulatory agencies, for example. “Countries grow thanks to great ideas, innovation that allows process improvements, technology, and management, as long as the rules of the game are adequate,” he summarized.

Artificial Intelligence

A current topic on the radar of companies and governments in all countries, artificial intelligence was also discussed at the event. According to Warren Ali, Director of Industrial Innovation at the Vector Institute and CEO of Tech For Good, Canada has much to contribute to Brazilian companies in the areas of technology and data protection and, at the government level, in the creation of appropriate security policies.

“Canada was the first country in the world to think of strategies aimed at artificial intelligence, since 2016, and has very good laws to correctly regulate data security,” he said. In his view, companies need to think of this technology as an important foundation that will bring long-term results and contribute to their innovation platforms.


In the panel “Investments: Exploring Opportunities and Businesses,” Helena Bonna Brandão, Manager of the Investment Department at the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency – ApexBrasil, highlighted the engagement of Brazil and Canada in the agenda of decarbonization, green hydrogen, energy transition, biofuel, and innovation.

Since 2012, according to data presented during the event, Canada has an investment stock in Brazil of US$ 23.7 billion, mainly in the energy, infrastructure, oil, and gas sectors. Since 2013, Canada has invested in nearly 100 projects in the country, totaling R$ 10 billion, which generated 5,000 jobs in Brazil.

On the other hand, Brazil’s investment stock in Canada—which is among the 20 most sought-after destinations for Brazilians to open their operations—has totaled more than US$ 2.4 billion since 2012. “We have been working a lot with the mining theme to attract investments and intend to advance in this area, receiving delegations from Canadian companies and making new connections,” she said.

Also participating in the 2nd Brazil-Canada Economic Forum were Jorge Rave, VP Regional Latam at Export Development Canada; Guillaume Legaré, Head of the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV) in South America; Frederico Deodoro, Regional Finance Director at Kinross Brazil Mining; Verônica Prates, Institutional Relations Manager at Embraer; Jeremiah O’Callaghan, Chairman of the Board at JBS; and Jair Toledo, Manager of Renewable Projects Design and Development at Petrobras.