BRAPACC: Creating Stronger Connections Between Pennsylvania and Brazil

Maria Johansson, for GPA -- Trade and cooperation between Brazil and the U.S. have long and established histories. Since Brazil is one of the most prominent developing countries — sometimes categorized as “Newly Industrialized Countries” — as well as the largest economy in South America, it is no wonder that interests between the two countries are frequently aligned.

To promote and facilitate this, many agencies have been established throughout the U.S. For instance, a Brazilian Chamber of Commerce was established in New York in 1969 and Washington, D.C. is the home of the Brazil – U.S. Business Council.

This official connection has now also arrived in Philadelphia.

On October 30, the Brazil-Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce (BRAPACC) was inaugurated at the Pyramid Club in Center City. The evening was dedicated to celebrating the official start of BRAPACC and to mark the introduction of the chamber as a platform for the promotion of business relations, trade and culture between Brazil and Pennsylvania.

Present to speak at the inauguration was Her Excellency Ambassador Ana Cabral, Consul General of Brazil in New York; Honorable C. Alan Walker, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and Alan Greenberger, Philadelphia Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Director of Commerce.

Also in attendance was Patricia F. Dickey, Founder and President of BRAPACC.

“When I first met [Ms. Dickey], not so long ago, she told me, ‘I want to start a Brazil - Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce,’ and here we are,” said Deputy Mayor Greenberger.

Dickey’s initiative and drive to achieve her goal in a short amount of time was recognized by all speakers and she was given multiple standing ovations. It was obvious that the demand for this particular forum has long existed and that the work of Dickey and her team was highly anticipated.

Although BRAPACC is new, the connection between Pennsylvania and Brazil is not. Take Aramark, a Philadelphia-based food, facilities and uniform company that was one of two companies named food and beverage concessionaires during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. A representative from the company was present at the inauguration and the successful collaboration was highlighted.

This is a clear example of successful cooperation between the two nations, something which all three speakers highlighted and that Dickey clearly hopes to facilitate. Her Excellency Ambassador Ana Cabral elucidated that she had long worked to promote positive relations, in business and otherwise, between our two nations. However, she also said that, “much has been done, but even more needs to be done”.

Her remark was not limited to BRAPACC and Pennsylvania, but includes all of the U.S. as well as all of Brazil.

Based on the crowd at the inauguration event and the speakers’ wholly positive view of the future of BRAPACC, there is no doubt that the relationship between these two nations will continue to prosper through the partnership and that Brazilian culture and business will quickly become an integral part of the international community of Philadelphia.