Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Government of Brazil Opens New Consulate General in Georgia

Governor Sonny Perdue, joined by newly-appointed Brazilian Consul General Adalnio Senna Ganem, today announced the opening of a new consulate general in Atlanta that will serve the Brazilian community throughout the southeastern United States. The new consulate general was announced at a ceremony held at Georgia’s State Capitol, and will be one of Georgia’s largest consulates, employing a staff of up to 30 people when it reaches full capacity.

“Our friends from Brazil are some of our most important trading partners and we welcome them as they open this consulate general in Georgia,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “We know that this new office will help to better serve Brazil’s citizens and strengthen the cultural and economic bonds between our two nations. I thank President Lula for the confidence he has placed in our state by allowing us to host his country’s consulate general.”

The new consulate general will serve the states of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. In addition to issuing visas and passports and performing other consular services, the office will handle economic development and trade functions. The new consulate general will also promote trade, investment, tourism, academic and cultural relationships.

“I commend Governor Perdue for his work to further enhance Georgia's relationship with Brazil and am excited to see this new consulate general in Atlanta,” said Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle. “This is an economic development win for our state and we look forward to the opportunities it will bring.”

Ambassador Adalnio Senna Ganem has been appointed by the Brazilian government as the new consul general. Ambassador Ganem served Brazil as Director of the Brazilian Trade Bureau in New York, Chief International Advisor to Vice-President Marco Maciel, Minister-Counsellor and Chargé d’Affaires of the Brazilian Embassy in Paris, and Chief International Advisor to two governors of São Paulo.

“By opening this major new consulate general, Brazil is recognizing the great importance of its relationships with the southeastern United States, and in particular the central role Atlanta plays in those relationships. As consul general, I look forward to enhancing these relationships,” said Ambassador Ganem.

For the past seven years Brazil has been represented in Georgia by Honorary Consul Timothy Perry, senior business lawyer with Miller & Martin. The Brazilian government announced its intentions to open this consulate in Atlanta in the fall of 2004 following Governor Perdue’s June 2004 visits to Sao Paolo, Brasilia and Mato Grasso. Under Governor Perdue’s direction, Hemisphere, Inc., a public-private partnership which led the initiative to raise awareness of Georgia’s position as the premier gateway to the Southeast, made multiple visits to Brazil and hosted numerous Brazilian delegations in Georgia. The City of Atlanta and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce also conducted significant outreach to the government of Brazil.

“The opening of the Brazil Consulate in metro Atlanta is a direct result of the Governor, mayor and business leaders working to win the headquarters of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA),” said Sam A. Williams, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce president. “A consulate plus direct air routes to Brazil is the winning combination we need to increase metro Atlanta’s business ties to the eighth largest economy in the world.”

The state of Georgia opened a trade office in Brazil in 1994. In September 2005, the office expanded to begin focusing on Georgia’s broader economic development interests, including investment, tourism and film. The office is located in Sao Paulo and is managed by Fabio Yukio Yamada.

In December 2007, Georgia’s Department of Economic Development spearheaded a fact-finding mission to Brazil to explore the nation’s production and distribution systems for ethanol, particularly cellulosic ethanol. Brazil has become energy independent because of its extensive production and use of ethanol as vehicle fuel for vehicles as well as its burgeoning production of petroleum.

“We look forward to working with Ambassador Ganem and his staff,” said Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “The Brazilian Consulate heightens Georgia’s international profile, which is an extremely important attraction to our global customers.”

Brazil ranked 10th among Georgia’s export destinations in 2006, with exports totaling more than $430 million, a nearly 19 percent increase from the previous year. Also in 2006, the most recent year for which figures are available, Georgia imported $772.5 million from Brazil through the Savannah Customs District, a 24 percent increase from 2005.

Several Georgia companies including AGCO Corp., Coca-Cola, Equifax, Newell Rubbermaid and Novelis have operations in Brazil. Brazilian companies including Artefacto, Bematech Corp., Florense US Design, Gerdau SA, Houston American Cement and WEG Electric Motors Corp. operate facilities in Georgia. Delta Air Lines offers non-stop daily service between Atlanta and both Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

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