The road to Rio


As the 2016 Olympics near, Rio is about to be the focal point of the world’s attention. But elite athletes aren’t the only source of inspiration: for many, it’s sparked fresh interest in a market with huge potential for UK businesses.

Brazil is the 7th largest economy in the world – population 200m+

Handing over the Olympic host baton is just one way we’re connecting with Brazil. In October, Chancellor George Osborne and Brazilian Finance Minister Joaquim Levy met for the inaugural UK-Brazil Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD) – their goal to strengthen the trade and investment relationship, with a particular focus on infrastructure, financial services and supporting the delivery of the Rio Games.

 Additional sector opportunities. The UK has strong propositions in growth sectors in Brazil, including: healthcare; high-end consumer goods; education.

The Chancellor has said: “The UK has in the past neglected its ties with Latin America. That has now started to change. I want to see a much stronger economic relationship with Brazil.” It’s clear that many businesses are seizing opportunities in this market – the UK holds a top five place when it comes to FDI, and exports to Brazil have doubled since 2009.

UK trading with Brazil. UK is the 4th largest investor in Brazil – more than 7% of the total stock of foreign direct investment. 50% increase in exports between 2009 and 2013. £3.6bn UK exports to Brazil in 2005

The road to Rio has been rocky. The Brazilian economy was one of the fastest growing in the world when it won the Olympics bid in 2009 – and saw nearly 7% GDP growth in 2010 – but has since slid into its biggest recession in a century. Add political turmoil into the mix with the suspension and impeachment motion against President Rousseff and the potential impact of the Zika outbreak; and the nation faces a multi-layered, complex crisis.

Despite these challenges, the Olympic and Paralympic Games continue to command global interest – and potential opportunities for UK businesses both at home and abroad.

Rio 2016. R$25bn generated in infrastructure investments in Rio - around £4.8bn. £lOOm+ – The value of contracts won by UK businesses for the 2016 Games. 60% of sponsorship is 'value in kind' or barter deals. £3bn boost to the UK economy predicted, thanks to a surge in retail and leisure spending linked to the Olympics and Euro 2016. Sources: Moodys, Bloomberg,, Business Matters

Have you considered talking to someone about exploring the business opportunities in trading with Latin America? Whether it’s your bank, or someone like the UKTI, support is available to help you make the most of the opportunity. Here’s some useful links to get started.

Useful links

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