An unprecedented program to internationalize small and micro companies in Santa Catarina, organization of international missions, support for events and participation in projects, in addition to attracting new investments, were some of the actions that marked the first year of the State Secretariat for Foreign Affairs (SAI).
“With the support of Governor Jorginho Mello, the internationalization of Santa Catarina took place effectively this year. We were able to strengthen our areas of activity in international issues, foreign trade, in addition to helping companies and partners, creating new projects to attract business to the State. In this way, benefiting the population of Santa Catarina, directly and indirectly, and generating jobs and income”, stated the secretary of SAI, Juliano Froehner .
First export of MSEs
The creation of the pioneer SC- Export was successful right from its start, last November. It projected the closing of US$2.096 million in business in Paraguay and US$1.45 million in exports with Chile, over the next 12 months, for the 41 micro and small companies ( MSEs ) that participated in this first stage of the project. The goal of SC- Export is to boost foreign trade for micro and small companies in Santa Catarina, promoting and implementing public policies for export.
Led by vice-governor Marilisa Boehm, SC- Export is a partnership between the State Government (represented by the Secretariat for Foreign Affairs – SAI and the Secretariat of Industry, Commerce and Services – SICOS) and the University of Vale do Itajaí ( Univali ). It is sponsored by Portonave and has the support of Unoesc, Unesc and Furb .
“For the State Government, this pilot project stands out as an innovative public policy in international trade promotion. It also aims to design partnerships with students benefiting from the Free University program through the Acafe system, like what happened on these two trips by Univali students and researchers, who worked to prepare companies by generating catalogues, demand studies, price formation, websites in a foreign language, logistical study, export plan, among other actions”, explained Froehner .
Countries such as Canada, the United States, Chile, Panama, Paraguay, Finland, Romania, Italy, Germany, China and Russia carried out commercial, cultural and educational exchanges with Santa Catarina this year. Some received delegations from the state government in their countries and others were in the state to strengthen ties with Santa Catarina.
Connection with Central and North America
“In Panama, together with governor Jorginho Mello, we sought to implement a direct flight between Florianópolis and Panama City, the capital of the country located in Central America, during a meeting with the director of routes at Copa Airlines”, said the secretary of Foreign Affairs. According to him, the idea is to attract the company that serves all of Latin America, as well as Europe, through partnerships, offering a wide variety of destinations to people from Santa Catarina who travel for tourism or business. In that country, in October, the delegation from Santa Catarina also discussed new business opportunities between Santa Catarina and Panama in a meeting at the Brazilian Embassy in the country.
China and Russia
Santa Catarina also opened formal negotiations with China in September. Secretary Juliano Froehner and Deputy Secretary for the Environment and Green Economy ( Semae ), Guilherme Dallacosta , participated in one of the largest low-carbon energy development and energy security forums in the world. They met with representatives of the Shanxi Provincial Government and visited the Shanxi International Energy Group Ruiguang Thermal Power station.
“It was a very important moment for the State of Santa Catarina, for us to study the energy revolution, as Shanxi is preparing to provoke very strong economic development based on this revolution. In particular, we shall open formal negotiations for three lines: green hydrogen, coal waste treatment and semiconductors. These are three important areas for the future of the State and for the future of the people of Santa Catarina”, highlighted Secretary Froehner. According to the secretary, this is governor Jorginho Mello’s vision for SC to be much more international than it already is, going beyond borders with its partners, with its sister states, with the provinces that are now twinned with the State for the economic development and mutual development.
In Russia, Secretary Juliano Froehner and Deputy Secretary of Tourism (Setur), Catiane Seif, attracted the attention of investing companies and stood out in internationalization actions in two panels and in the closing plenary session of the V BRICS+ International Forum, in November. The panel also included participation from representatives of important nations, such as the President of the Moscow City Duma, Alexey Shaposhnikov the vice-governor of Saint Petersburg, Oleg Ergashev; the South African minister, Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma ; and Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Science, Chen Zhigang .
“For Santa Catarina, the main point at the Forum was to present the State, as instructed by Governor Jorginho Mello, as a strong partner in Latin America for investments, commercial integration, logistical, cultural projects and strongly in the area of tourism. Furthermore, we obtained excellent results, such as the willingness of four business participating in BRICS+ who asked to open negotiations with SC for the possible installation of companies in the automotive, logistics, health and pharmaceutical segments”, highlighted the secretary.
“And we are already planning, for March next year, another international business trip for the Santa Catarina delegation led by the governor, in addition to others to be planned by SAI”, announced Froehner. The trip to the United Arab Emirates aims to analyze Arab investment projects in structural projects in Santa Catarina.
Chinese company installation
The Chinese company Eikto, one of the largest energy generation exporters in Brazil, is preparing the company’s installation in Laguna. The details were agreed between the company’s board of directors, governor Jorginho Mello and government secretaries, in April.
The joint venture, which produces lithium battery cells, modules and systems, reported at the time that they already owned land in the state. Present in 44 countries, the company focuses on production to meet nautical, telecommunications or material handling equipment needs. The benefits, according to Eikto, are numerous, both for the environment, such as the reduction of carbon emissions, as for consumers, once the battery life is 10 years, with product monitoring directly from China.
Japan closest to SC
The Japanese delegation was received by governor Jorginho Mello in July this year, when the Brazil-Japan Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Technology was also launched. On the occasion, the presence of the Japanese ambassador to Brazil, Teiji Hayashi, in Florianópolis strengthened the relationship between the country and the State, so much so that after the ambassador’s return to Brasília, the Japanese government lifted the embargo on the import of live birds and fertile eggs from Santa Catarina.
By coincidence, the organization of the arrival of the delegation from Japan, scheduled by the Secretariat for Foreign Affairs, occurred even before the embargo on the import of chicken from Santa Catarina took place, due to the record of an outbreak of avian influenza in a subsistence production chicken in the municipality of Maracajá, countryside of Santa Catarina.
At the time, the governor celebrated: “Santa Catarina is free from bird flu. We are a reference state in animal health and this specific issue of the outbreak of avian influenza is already something we have overcome, and also by the Ministry of Agriculture.” Jorginho Mello had recently given the ambassador a letter to be sent to Japanese authorities who would define the issue.
“The incident served to bring Japan even closer to Santa Catarina, as the Japanese authorities were able to check and confirm both the preventive actions and the readiness, resolutive and firm actions of the State”, explained the SAI secretary, reinforcing that, only in 2022, exports of chicken, eggs and their by-products to the Asian country generated around US$310.8 million for the state of Santa Catarina, equivalent to 14.75% of total revenue from exports of these products.
Italy: looking for commercial opportunities
The Italian ambassador to Brazil, Alessandro Cortese, and his delegation were in Florianópolis at the beginning of December. In the State Government, he met with the secretaries Juliano Froehner (Foreign Affairs), Cleverson Siewert (Treasury), Silvio Dreveck ( Sicos ), Evandro Neiva (Tourism) and deputy Patricia Lueders (Education). The objective of the visits was to strengthen relations with the State, opening new opportunities for partnerships and commercial agreements.
For the ambassador, who has been in Brazil for just two months, the state of Santa Catarina is rich in its diversity and has an important concentration of Italian-Brazilians and immigrants, with the percentage of Italians and descendants in the state being higher than that of São Paulo . “There is the possibility of strengthening these relationships, with great investment potential. Italy is an important investor for Brazil. In the last 3 years, total investments in the country were 30 billion euros and we have room for improvement. Furthermore, we have to celebrate 250 years of Italian immigration to Brazil, which can be used as a hook to boost negotiations”, highlighted Cortese, who committed to working to strengthen ties with Santa Catarina.
Exchange of missions
Participating in Collision in June, in Canada – one of the largest innovation events on the North American continent, Secretary Juliano Froehner arranged a visit to Santa Catarina by around 30 Canadian companies, to learn about the State’s potential, which came to fruition the following August.
Furthermore, in the capital of Santa Catarina, the State Government supported an unprecedented partnership to bring companies from Santa Catarina to Canada. The announcement by the Santa Catarina Technology Association (Acate) took place during the Startup Summit 2023. Acate opened a branch in the North American country to facilitate the internationalization of companies from Santa Catarina and attract Canadian businesses to the State. “Through these partnerships, we ensure that entrepreneurs have a physical location to work and can network. This opens many doors”, explained Acate’s vice-president of internationalization, Henrique Bilbao Bilbao.
The new partnership allows a Santa Catarina company to simultaneously have a base abroad, and companies from abroad to also have a base in the State. According to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Santa Catarina, Juliano Froehner, with this, companies will be able to explore the development of what is called a “global product” – which serves all markets.
The first meeting between the Foreign Affairs and the Consular Association in Santa Catarina took place in August this year. The meeting provided greater rapprochement between the countries present and the government of Santa Catarina with the aim of establishing lines of coordination. The event took place at the Civil Defense Secretariat, in and was attended by 16 consular representatives based in SC. The creation of an international relations forum to work on the internationalization of the State was also discussed.
According to the executive secretary of the Consular Association and honorary consul of Costa Rica, Rolando Coto Varela, the creation of this forum will allow to bring together all government institutions with society organizations, “for example, Fiesc , Fecam, Federation of Commercial and Industrial Associations of State, OAB and Santa Catarina universities.”
The president of the Consular Association in SC, honorary consul of Italy, Attilio Colitti praised the performance of the state government and SAI. “We were very optimistic about this meeting and I am sure that good things will come from this partnership between the Government of Santa Catarina and the Consular Association.”
In June, the Foreign Affairs and Education secretariats launched a notice to offer German courses to teachers in Santa Catarina. This partnership aimed to promote the offer of free undergraduate courses in German for public school teachers in the Blumenau region. The launch of the public call for the accreditation of institutions that will offer the courses took place at the General Consulate of Germany, in Blumenau.
The pilot project aimed to expand German language teaching in Santa Catarina and promote technologies and investments for the State. The course and region of offering were defined according to demand sent by the Consulates of Germany and Austria, based on the need for qualified teachers in specific areas of the state education network. “Our aim is to expand the internationalization of the State. We have countless job openings, companies wanting to set up in SC and we need qualified people. We will expand this program to become an integration point and to attract companies. That’s what we want, we want to empower the people of Santa Catarina”, explained Froehner .
In partnership with the departments of Public Security (SSP), Tourism (Setur), Security Forces and Prison System of Santa Catarina, SAI participated, in December, in the dissemination of the actions that will be carried out in the Estação Verão (Summer Season) operation in the State. Consulates from Paraguay and Uruguay also participated in the meeting at the SSP headquarters, which also invited the Argentine Consulate. The Security forces will have increased numbers of police, firefighters and lifeguards on the Santa Catarina coast and the entire Santa Catarina public security equipment and technology available.
The objective of the meeting was the coordination, integration and communication of the sectors involved in the work planned for Estação Verão with the aim of offering the best protection and service to tourists and the population in general during the summer. “The contribution of each institution involved was important so that we can improve planning and be even better hosts to our visitors, like our brothers from neighboring countries”, said the Secretary of Public Security, Paulo Cezar de Oliveira, at the time.