The Metrowest Daily News
By Gov. Deval Patrick and Gov. Geraldo Alckmin/Guest columnist
As governors, we’ve come to realize that the global economy waits for no one. You either get on the bus or get left behind. In the case of Massachusetts and São Paulo, we not only want to be on the bus; we want to drive it. In that spirit, we see opportunities to strengthen and grow the relationship between our states.
Brazil has become one of the most important international partners for Massachusetts. In 2010, bilateral trade between Massachusetts and Brazil topped $475 million – representing more than $396 million in exports from Massachusetts to Brazil and more than $80 million in exports from Brazil to Massachusetts.
This year, Massachusetts exports to Brazil are already up 31 percent. The state of São Paulo is responsible for 33 percent of Brazil’s GDP and is a natural business hub for Massachusetts. Massachusetts is home to one of the largest Brazilian populations in America, a community whose highly entrepreneurial nature contributes in significant ways to the local economy.
Massachusetts is home to many of America’s leading universities, research institutions and teaching hospitals, and host to the world’s largest life sciences and IT supercluster, making it the U.S. epicenter of innovation. As the innovation powerhouse of Latin America, São Paulo is responsible for half of Brazil’s national scientific production and its scientists publish more articles than any country in Latin America. The world-class University of São Paulo is considered the best in Latin America and attracts students from around the globe. São Paulo’s global leadership in bioenergy is a natural complement to Massachusetts’ thriving clean tech sector.
It is clear that we have many opportunities for common advantage. Massachusetts and São Paulo have the tools to compete in the global economy: the talent, the know-how, the uniquely skilled workforce, the entrepreneurial spirit. In partnership, we are stronger.
From the 5th – 9th of December, a team of leading business executives, educators and senior government officials from Massachusetts engaged in an Innovation Economy Mission to Brazil to strengthen the Massachusetts-Brazil connection.
The delegation met with leaders in business, academia and government in Brazil, including a two-day visit to São Paulo to promote partnership and job creation opportunities in the areas of technology, clean energy, life sciences, education and the arts.
In São Paulo, the delegation joined members of the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) to discuss job creation in the science and technology sectors and to cultivate industry partnerships and research collaborations. One highlight of the visit was the innovation economy forum organized by the Massachusetts Office of International Trade & Investment that brought together hundreds of leaders in clean tech, life sciences, ITech and financial services. The participants identified several opportunities for future collaboration.
Stemming from our meetings, we announced the TOP USA-Massachusetts Program, an initiative that will promote an academic exchange of faculty and students between several Brazilian and North American Universities, including the University of Massachusetts system and three universities in São Paulo.
We are delighted to partner to broaden our respective research platforms.
We are proud of our partnership and will continue to work together long after the mission ends. We are convinced that by doing so, Massachusetts and São Paulo will win the future.
Deval Patrick is the governor of Massachusetts; Geraldo Alckmin is the governor of São Paulo, Brazil.