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Entrepreneurs cease to fight imports and start demanding the federal government greater integration of the country in the international market

No. EDITION: 817 | Economy | 07.JUN.13
By Carla JIMENEZ

The Chinese first lady, Peng Liyuan, made ??an unexpected request during her passage through Mexico last week, when she accompanied her husband, Xi Jinping, on his official visit to the president Enrique Peña Nieto. Peng is a fan of Mexican soap operas, and wanted to know the Televisa television studios, in the company of Mexican first lady, Angelica Rivera, famous actress in her country. While women exploring their affinities with popular culture, their husbands firmed agreements to boost trade exchange. Although they have not treaty of free trade zones, the approach of the two countries shows that Mexico is wasting no time to explore partnerships with all continents.

Breaking down barriers: Pedro Passos from Iedi, on photomontage in the Berlin Wall

The entrepreneur says he has no fear of trade openness

Besides its natural alliance with the United States through NAFTA since the 1990s, the country last week completed a year of participation in Pacific Alliance, which brings together Chile, Peru and Colombia for free trade tariff of a multitude of items. This Mexican resourcefulness in its trade policy provoked a reaction of Brazilian business leaders, who decided to press the government to seek more trade agreements, trying to regain ground lost to other countries. The success of its main Latin rival, added to the pale GDP results, released in late May, led entities like CNI, Fiesp, Iedi and the Business Council of Latin America (CEAL) to join an explicit requirement, since last week, for more daring the government to open the country to international trade, and make a deeper debate about the limits of Mercosur.

“Were beating a stage where the top priority was the domestic market," says Pedro Passos, Iedi president and partner of Natura. "The local consumption is no longer sufficient to provide all the answers to the productive sector demand." Anxiety of entrepreneurs is not only due to the performance of Mexico, which has left behind Brazil in terms of competitiveness, as shown by the last ranking of the Swiss business school IMD, in late May (Mexico is the 32° of the list, 19 places ahead of Brazil). The big fear is the courtship between the U.S. and the EU, which in February signed a letter of intent from a free trade agreement within two years.

New agreements: Ingo Plöger of CEAL, urging the elaboration of commercial treaties with countries and economic blocs

"Were out of that circuit, while other countries are running at high speed," says Ingo Plöger, president of CEAL. Although the opening was already defended by Brazilian companies more internationalized, assuming collectively a fight for greater trade openness shows a radical change in the business, it was always more likely to ask for protection of the domestic market through import tariffs. It was like that in 2011, for example, when the country increased by 30 percentage points the Tax on Industrialized Products (IPI) for imported vehicles, to curb the advance of the Chinese car market.

It is also an audacious trump card, though necessary for a country that is lagging in terms of innovation and productivity. "The industry will become," says Carlos Abijaodi, director of industrial development of CNI. "Its a new reality that can hurt, in some cases, but it will bring benefits." Pain referred Abijaodi is stiff competition from cheaper and innovator products that can get to Brazil more easily, without the toll of import taxes. This new reality will literally bleed some companies , which will close in such a scenario like this.

However, it is the only way to push the sectors that until now resisted opening for modernization and alignment with the world. If on one hand companies earn hundreds of competitors from one day to the night, they now have the chance to import technology and find cheaper inputs. "We are not afraid of opening up for international competition since it is already underway in the country," said Ingo Plöger. "We will have stress? Yes, but Brazil has to do it. "For Pedro Passos from Iedi, only trade openness will enable the country to assume a competitive agenda that will bring a shock efficiency. "The productivity within companies only come with international integration", says.