Brazil Germany Economic Meetings – EEBA – CNI – BDI

4 decades of Business and Government Dialogues

Willy Brandt and Emílio Garrastazu Médice in 1972 signed an instrument of periodic consultations creating the Joint Economic Development Commission Brazil Germany (later referred to only as the Mixed Commission) that would meet once a year, alternately in each country. It was the year, in the middle of cold war, where the red phone was kept on preventing a third World War. Consultation instruments were created to reduce animosities and retaliations and make it possible to increase successive improvements in relations. This year the Treaty between West and East Germany was signed, Germany was going through a terrible experience of terrorism at the Olympics in Munich, and Brazil was in the mindset of its economic miracle, with high growth, investments in infrastructure, and developmentalist, with an increasing consumption in automobiles, refrigerators, etc. under an authoritarian regime of military orientation. In 1972 Brazil signed the Itaipu Treaty with Paraguay initiating the gigantic work of one of the largest hydroelectric plants, with strong German participation in turbines and generators. It was the year that TV was introduced in color in Brazil. Transamazonica, the Rio Niteroi Bridge among other works, had its beginning.

The Joint Commission, was made up of the German side of a businessman, appointed by BDI, Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie, and Co secretariat by the Ministry of the Economy of Germany, while in Brazil the representation was made by Itamaraty. The dialogues that were extended had different interlocutors which did not contributed to more substantial understandings. The meetings took place in the capitals of the countries in Bonn and Brasília, alternately. In 1973, as a business initiative, the First Meeting Entrepreneurial Brazil Germany before the Joint Commission. It was the idea of ​​combining Brazilian and German business interests to build common guidelines in the face of their own governments. These meetings were informal, and in the second Economic Meeting in 1974, already under the Ernesto Geisel Government, there was a for the participation of Karlos Heinz Rischbieter, then President of Caixa Economica, later President of the Central Bank, where he had presented a memorable work, “Developing Brazil; a challenge not only for Brazilians “. Karlos Rischbieter, from Paraná, of German origin, convinced that the role of entrepreneurship was fundamental in the evolution of economic relations, thus started a dialogue of constructive government-enterprise of new scope. In 1971 Germany took an initiative to promote a major industrial exhibition technology at Ibirapuera in São Paulo, led by entrepreneur Gerhard Kienbaum, who at the same time was still President of the Economic Commission of the German parliament. A series of businessmen from Portugal came with him. medium-sized companies that saw in Brazil the possibility of serving a market in strong

expansion. In São Paulo, at that time the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Brazil Germany, with the Presidency of Ernst Günther Lipkau, President of Dresdner Bank and Cotinco, welcomed the companies to be installed in Brazil. Kienbaum, even with the resistance of Lipkau, for being competitors in the consulting area, installed his company in Brazil. Both had a great influence in this story in economic relations and respected each other a lot. Marcus Vinicius Pratini de Moraes, the youngest Minister in Brazil, had opened the exhibition. 

In 1974, Rischbieter had shown what could be done on a constructive agenda.

On December 30, 1975, Germany and Brazil ratified the Double taxation, negotiated for several years.

But business organizations had a hard time bringing this dialogue to a systematized dialogue. It was then the initiative of VARIG Airlines, which had given a decisive step. VARIG’s Director for Europe, Finn B. Larsen, who was a

Dane who was once Minister of Transport of that country, and fascinated by Brazil, organized on behalf of VARIG an Economic Meeting in Stuttgart. THE The answer had been good, but it lacked conception and organization. This is where Gerhard Kienbaum again in history, which in Düsseldorf, the following year, had organized and

developed the Economic Meetings with thematic, sectoral and management. The success had been enormous, extensive documentation from the panelists and presenters, were distributed by the VARIG team in Brazil and Germany disclosing the potential and risks of the two countries. In 1978, the 4. Brazil Germany Economic Meeting, with personalities like Hans Ulrich Klose, Rodenstock, Kostal, Matter, Meister, Oellers, Rischbieter, Vervuert, Plöger,Sauer, Herman Abs, Lipkau, Mangels, Harbich, Fayet, among others, names that would emerge as entrepreneurs and even today their traces are found in the companies and institutions that commanded  

A major milestone was the choice of Brazil, as a partner in Hannover Messe concomitant with the Economic Meeting in Hamburg. Three enter the scene great protagonists of this relationship, Constantino Bäumle, who until today represents the Hannover Messe in Brazil, Peter Thurbach Vice President of Kienbaum and Werner Berghaus, Finn Larsen’s successor at VARIG. The role of these three people made it possible for there to be a harmonious passage of the Economic Meetings with the Mixed Commission and the big German Fairs.

The VARIG Brazil Germany Economic Meetings were not linked to the Brazil Germany Joint Commission. They became an extraordinarily strong element of dialogue, while the Joint Commission started a process of wailing wall, for account of the energy crisis, the slowdown in the Brazilian economy, and the Eastern Western Europe. The 6. Brazil Germany Economic Meeting sponsored by VARIG took place for the first time in Brazil, in October 1981, in Porto Alegre, and it was also the last one sponsored by VARIG. Hélio Smidt, Wolfgang Sauer, Paulo N Batista, Jorge J. Gerdau, H. Heydebreck, Nestor Jost, Kleybold, Kienbaum, Paulo T. Flexa de Lima, Pratini de Moraes, J. Camilo Penna, H. Prayon, Sergio Schapke, H. Schwab, Olavo Setubal, A. Plöger, Claudio Strassburger, J. Amaral de Souza,Berghaus, Thurbach, Hans P Stihl, Paulo Villares, H.Vervuert, K. Wilms, Ingo Zadrozny among others The 1980s had already shown its signs of democratization in Brazil and of a decade full of problems, with high inflation, and the end of the Brazilian miracle. At Germany the east-west distinction pointed on the one hand to an upsurge relation leading to reunification.

From 1982 onwards, the Brazil Germany Joint Commissions became quite strained due to protectionism on both sides. Brazil in the fight against inflation invented each year a plan more outlandish than the other and Germany restrictions on the entry of products by the European Common Market agricultural products in Brazil. The Commission had become a great wailing wall reciprocal. The German business side did not find a similar interlocutor from the Brazilian side, which is why in Brasilia for the first time there was a meeting between CNI, BDI and AHK to discuss matters of common interest before the Joint Commission. With the successful experience of the Encounters Brazil Germany Economic Partnerships sponsored by VARIG, the then President of Hans Georg von Heydebreck, had asked me to try reorganizing the Economic Meetings, this time before the Joint Commissions. THE from there, the joint work between CNI and BDI is launched with the support of the Chamber Germany in Brazil the Brazil Germany Economic Meetings, today codenamed EEBA in Brazil, Germany Deutsch Brasilianische Wirtschaftstage, DBWT.

These meetings were held alternately between Brasilia and Bonn anticipating the of the Joint Commission. In 1991, another milestone of high relevance for this type of institutionalization was that of the Brazilian diplomat, Ambassador Francisco de Paula Nogueira Junqueira, followed by the continually active Ambassador Marcelo Jardim, that within the scope of the Brazilian opening, invited for the first time two businessmen members of the Mixed Commission: Hemann Wever, then President of the Brazil Germany and Carlos Mandelli Chairman of FIERGS, representing the CNI. They were observers and could report on the previous day’s deliberations.

Economic Meeting. This action was a milestone within Itamaraty itself. Today the Mixed Commission on the Brazilian side, comprises 10 to 12 Brazilian businessmen, who has an active voice and are confirmed by a presidential decree. Is the only one Mixed Commission of Brazil along these lines, and according to Brazilian and German diplomacy is the one that works and operates best for so many years. Several other countries do reference to this model, which worked, trying to operationalize it. The evolution of this model took place years after this milestone in 1991, when the Economic meeting in the Joint Commission. Today the opening of the Economic and of the Mixed Commission take place concurrently, making the Commissions such as Agribusiness, Small and Medium Enterprises, Innovation etc., are already incorporated into the Commission, greatly increasing the effectiveness of the work, are no longer limited to the annual meeting, but specifically to work during this period. From that date, meetings in the capitals were no longer fixed, but the Federations organized them in the most different Brazilian cities and German companies, enabling participants to get to know their strategic partner better.

Camara Brasil Germany instituted under the initiative of then Vice President Klaus Behrens, the Brazil Germany Personality Award, an “Oscar” for relations.

Through personalities that stood out for their performance not only business but in the fields of social, cultural and environmental integration, people stand out exemplary in this work and in this dedication. The first Prize was dedicated to Berthold Beitz of Bosch and then President of Vale, Eliezer Batista.

From the Economic Meetings came several other truly relevant initiatives, as well as in 1998, in Rio de Janeiro, at the initiative of the then Ambassador Roberto Abdenur, entrepreneurs like Roberto Teixeira da Costa and Jurgen Strube were encouraged to work in a European Union Mercosur dialogue, forming Mercosur European Business Forum, which gave very intensive substance to a bi-regional agreement. You three were awarded by the Brazil Germany Personality Award, years later as a “veteran” of these relationships, because I started with Gerhard Kienbaum in 1978, and until today linked to the voluntary work of these institutions, I witnessed moments incredible, but also frustrations. Among the highlights, were the participations of President Lula several times in the Encounters, and seeing hundreds of businessmen cheering him on his feet. Fernando Henrique Cardoso in Berlin, at the Premio Personality to Wolfgang Sauer and Heydebreck, after visiting Expo 2000, opening it with Gerhard Schröder. Brazil represented itself in a magnificent in the biggest half-year exhibition in Hannover where the Câmara Brasil Germany incorporated, as the only German Chamber, the centennial relationship between countries. The last Ecconomico Meeting in São Paulo in 2013, with the opening of the Brazil-German Year with the presence of President Dilma Rousseff and of the President of Germany Gauck. Low points were the denunciation by the Germany of the Brazil Germany Double Taxation Agreement in 2006, which had worked very well for decades, favoring the installation of Small and Medium Companies and the exchange of Brazilian experts to Germany and professors Germans to Brazil. To date, these negotiations have not been able to resume, with the Brazil is the only country in the BRICS that does not have a double taxation agreement with Germany, causing great damage to the incentive of SMEs and to the exchange of people. I hope one day to celebrate the resumption of a good agreement. The same with the Mercosur and European Union Agreement that was about to be agreed in October 2004 in Lisbon, when then the negotiators, by EU Pascal Lami, and Mercosul Celso Amorim, could not overcome small differences (more than 9000 items were only 6 on the negotiating table) to close the wake up.

But some picturesque stories have also occurred. I remember it like it was yesterday, when the business side negotiated the night before intensely the protocols to be signed the next day; the German side insisted on putting a phrase that has been repeated very much on the Brazilian side, that Brazil’s trade surplus

with Germany, meant the help that Germany gave to development Brazilian. Much discussion and fight, but we were unable to get this sentence out of protocol. Years later the situation was reversed, Germany had a surplus trade, and when in another dispute over market access, the Brazilian side had to swallow a poisen pill, left no doubt in replacing that according to Germany’s own definition, that the German trade surplus meant the Brazilian contribution to German development. The poisen pill was removed …

Helmut Schmidt had visited S. Paulo and the Chamber. We asked him if he could designate a Minister to be on the Joint Commission. As we had not specified what it was the Mixed Commission, in its very direct way, asked … I just did not understand who mix what with who … followed by a hilarious audience.

Now there are more than 40 years more meetings than mismatches and the balance is substantially positive. Economic, commercial, technological, and economic relations institutional, have led both countries to respect each other deeply and to have a dense tissue of relationships and most of the time interpersonal about which projects a great future. Personalities, people, and institutions made this relationship that today is considered the best among friendly countries by business perseverance and the idealism of many employees who are not even they always appear in the limelight. The list of these grows every year and I consider myself a highly privileged person to be able to have participated in this process and to have created great friendships with all those who have always contributed to the good of the two nations. As a German saying goes, we always meet more than once in a lifetime, is what the Encounters provide!


Ingo Plöger, Brazilian, businessman, shareholder of Melhoramentos, company founded by their German grandparents more than 120 years ago. He was President of the Chambers, Co Chairman of the Mercosur European Business Forum, Chairman of the Board Of Latin America, and President of his company IP Desenvolvimento Corporate and Institutional.


History of the Brazil-Germany Economic Meeting

1974 – Brasília

1975 – Bonn/Köln

1976 – ( Primeiro da VARIG) – Stuttgart 1977 – Bonn

1978 – 4.Encontro VARIG Stuttgart Brasília 1979 – ( VARIG Dusseldorf)- Bonn

1980 – ( VARIG Frankfurt? – Brasília

1981 – (6. Encontro VARIG Porto Alegre) Hamburgo 1982 – Brasília

1983 – Bonn

1984 – Brasília

1985 – Bonn/Köln

1986 – Brasília

1987 – München

1988 – Brasília

1089 – Bonn/Köln

1990 – Brasília

1991 – Berlim

1992 – Porto Alegre 1993 – Leipzig

1994 – Florianópolis 1995 – São Paulo 1996 – Dresden

1997 – Rio de Janeiro 1998 – München

1999 – Belo Horizonte

2000 – Potsdam

2001 – Curitiba

2002 – Hamburgo

2003 – Goiânia

2004 – Stuttgart

2005 – Fortaleza

2006 – Berlim

2007 – Blumenau

2008 – Colônia

2009 – Vitória

2010 – Munique 2011 – Rio de Janeiro 2012 – Frankfurt 2013 – São Paulo 2014 – Hamburg

2015 – Joinville

2016 – Weimer 2017 – Porto Alegre 2018 – Colonia

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