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Gustavo Brigagão
President Rio de Janeiro Branch

It has always been a great pleasure chairing Britcham in Rio de Janeiro because it is a unique opportunity to interact with so many colleagues and staff as we strive for the common goal of building closer commercial ties between Brazil and the United Kingdom. Our institution has been playing this role tirelessly since it first opened its door over 100 years ago and last year was no different.
The year of 2018 was marked by the quality and theme diversity of the events organized by our Britcham committees.
Some of these events included the very professionally organized “lunch-lectures”, where our members were able to mingle with specialists on a wide range of major issues. It is particularly worth highlighting the meetings that focused on analyzing the current perspective for the Brazilian energy matrix, which where attended by distinguished governmental authorities, such as the President of the National Petroleum Agency (ANP), the General Director of the National Electric Energy Agency (ANEEL) and the Director of the Energy Research Company (EPE).
Here in Brazil, the Social Security and tax reforms have taken center stage on the political landscape and we have seen a growing consensus around the urgency of these measures, whose adoption will help rekindle economic growth in Brazil.
The fiscal reform is needed particularly urgently, because it will not only encourage foreign investment in Brazil, it will also boost the credibility of Brazil’s request to join the Organization for Economic Co-operation (OECD). Indeed, Brazil’s request has been wholeheartedly supported by the United Kingdom, which has also committed itself to invest up to 80 (eighty) million pounds in the recently launched “Work Program with Brazil regarding Transfer Pricing”, which is intended to bring Brazilian transfer pricing rules into line with OECD regulations. Additionally, the United Kingdom is on the verge of withdrawing from the European Union (Brexit), which means the UK will be restructuring its foreign policy and consequently strengthening its economic and cultural ties with Brazil.  A clear example of this closer relationship was the recent memorandum of understanding both countries recently signed to reduce current trade barriers, intensify bilateral cooperation and boost exports from both countries.
There is little doubt that trade is set to flourish between Brazil and the UK over the next several years, increasing Britcham's responsibilities and posing the welcome challenge of making our institutional mission even more of a pleasure to pursue.