Select Language |

Speak to an expert

Brazil-USA Trade

By Antoine Faugeres

Read Time

By Antoine Faugeres

Read Time

Trade between Brazil and the United States is growing rapidly

In 2021, bilateral trade between the U.S. and Brazil reached a new record of US$ 70.5 billion.

The USA is the largest source of foreign direct investment for Brazil with more than R$ 639 billion (US$ 125 billion) in 2020.  In addition, Brazilian companies continue to expand their presence in the U.S. market, either through purchasing U.S. companies or establishing their own businesses across a range of sectors including agriculture, food processing, and finance.

The Energy Sector

The U.S.-Brazil Energy Forum coordinates bilateral cooperation on energy security and technical exchanges and promotes private sector bilateral investment, such as in renewable and nuclear energy.

Brazil has a strong foundation in outsourcing, with 40.9% of its software services dedicated to outsourcing.

Brazilian developers and companies have extensive experience working with U.S. companies and advancing IT relationships abroad.

65% of Fortune 500 companies are located in Brazil, including IBM, Uber, Amazon, Google, Oracle, Microsoft, Meta, Dell.

Brazil has over 500,000 professionals participating in offshore software development.

The Brazilian IT Ecosystem

Brazil is the leading software outsourcing destination in LATAM with over $10 billion in revenue.

  • The IT ecosystem in Brazil is flourishing through a world-ranked software economy and a strong startup culture, as well as new initiatives such as tech parks. Brazil currently has 369 business incubators, 100 tech parks and 57 accelerators. Brazil’s premier “Silicon Valley” technopole is the São José dos Campos Technology Park, but there are others in Sorocaba, Ribeirão Preto, Piracicaba, Botucatu and more.
  • Run by Facebook, the Hack Station in São Paulo provides free programming and business training to young students and professionals.
  • Brazil’s 18 unicorns, which are valued at more than R$ 5 billion, have received investments from the United States.


Why does the Brazil-USA Trade Collaboration make sense?

Matching Time Zones

Brazil is located in the GMT-3 and GMT-4 time zones. GMT-4 is the same time zone as EST in the U.S., which means Brazilian developers could have up to 8 hours of overlap with New York based companies. These matching hours are extremely helpful for responsive and collaborative development.

Ideal for Agile Development

Brazil is also a top choice for achieving excellent outcomes from agile processes. Given the proximity in time zones, work culture and overall communication, Brazilian developers can undergo development without any major hurdles. Scheduling stand-up meetings and iterating products is a straightforward process with Brazilian software engineers.

Software Engineer Salaries in Brazil

Brazil has some of the most attractive software engineer salaries in Latin America. Though the country has highly skilled talent, the average salary for developers tends to be quite affordable, especially when compared to the U.S. and Europe. While the average developer earns just under $40,000 a year in Brazil, the lowest paid software developers in U.S. earn $82,430

Skilled Software Engineer

Brazilian developers are some of the most skilled worldwide. Brazil scored well in TopCoder challengers, earning 13th place worldwide.

Cultural Similarities and Challenges between Brazil and USA

Cultural Proximity

Brazil has good cultural compatibility with U.S. companies, traditionally scoring “very good” on Gartner’s index. Because of its proximity to the U.S. and its global outlook in general, Brazil has a similar innovative mindset. To help matters, Brazilians also share certain cultural icons with the U.S. as far as music and movie industry are concerned.


  • Brazilians are more people-oriented and less task-oriented than Americans.
  • The way Brazilians do business is through personal connections. They like to deal with people they know, either directly or to whom they have been introduced by someone they respect. In any case, appointments should be made at least two weeks in advance, and confirmed two days before. Business trips and appointments should be scheduled away from holidays and festivals, particularly Carnaval.
  • Meetings might be lengthy and the traffic between offices can take a good bite out of one’s time. It is therefore sensible to allow two to three hours for each meeting and not to schedule more than two or three appointments a day. Expect them to be cancelled or rescheduled at short notice. It is very rare for important deals to be done over the phone or by mail.
  • In some regions people are casual about punctuality. This is not the case in parts of Rio and São Paulo, where meetings normally start on time. Either way, when scheduling and arriving for a meeting, it is wise to be prepared for some degree of tardiness and not to show annoyance with it.
  • In most offices, a cafezinho (literally, “little coffee”) will be offered upon arrival. This is a traditional way of showing hospitality. While North Americans go straight to the point, Brazilians do a little socializing beforehand. It is a mixture of small talk and a little investigation, when the visitor can be casually asked about their background, interests, mutual acquaintances, or anything that will help the Brazilian businessperson get a feel for whom they are dealing with.
  • In companies used to interacting with foreigners the meeting might be conducted in English. In this case, foreign visitors should remember to speak more slowly and use shorter sentences, making sure they are being perfectly understood.
  • Brazilians look straight into the eyes of the person they are talking to. Although that may feel intrusive to some visitors, it is important not to shy away, lest you give the impression of having something to hide.
  • Confirm the meeting in writing. It is not uncommon for appointments to be cancelled or changed at the last minute. Do not appear impatient if you are kept waiting. Brazilians see time as something outside their control and the demands of relationships takes precedence over adhering to a strict schedule. Meetings are generally rather informal. Avoid confrontations and do not appear frustrated with your Brazilian colleagues.
  • It is normal for a meeting to be quite lively, with a few interruptions. Don’t be surprised if conversations appear to stray from the topic. Brazilians tend to multitask more than people in the US. Also, if someone interrupts the meeting to answer the phone, that does not mean they are not interested in the business at hand. During conversations, visitors should not be alarmed at being interrupted in the middle of a sentence. Brazilians tend to overlap their points of view. In fact, the more interested they are in a subject, the louder and more overlapping the discussion will be.
  • Brazilians tend to avoid direct confrontation and prefer a more indirect way of demonstrating disagreement. Brazilians like to analyze situations thoroughly and do not rush meetings until they are ready to be concluded, regardless of time schedules.
  • Being a collectivist society, Brazil places a high value on the family and gives the family more attention than even the bottom line. It is therefore common to find several members of one family involved in one business. The extended family structure of Brazilians offers security and networking opportunities to Brazilians.

The Americans

The Americans on the other hand are very task-oriented. They sacrifice their social relations for the sake of achieving a work-related goal. They avoid making idle conversations in meetings and instead focus the entire time talking about the business matter and nothing else.

Americans also value preciseness and they hate it when someone beats around the bush for politeness’ sake. They value a person who is straight to the point than one who wastes time on many words. They value clarity and do not care whether it comes out rudely or not. Failure to be clear and precise could be perceived as impoliteness and dishonesty. Honesty is the best policy in the U.S. Americans value honest people and therefore hate bribes, kickbacks, and other illegal payoffs. It is indeed easier in the U.S. to get ahead playing by the rules than by breaking them. In the American world, logic rules over emotion.

Women are equal partners in the American business world. It is therefore respectable to treat the female partners with equal dignity as the male partners. While engaging in conversations with Americans, topics such as religion and politics should be avoided as they are sensitive topics. Americans enjoy topics such as wealth, sports, current events, business and market trends, and entertainment. These are safe topics that any foreigner can talk about with an American colleague comfortably.

For thoses cultural differences, Brazilian culture can conflict with the American culture in several ways.

This can be source of misunderstanding between people from these two countries.

Americans value time and punctuality as a necessity to survive in the American business world. In fact, not arriving at the scheduled time could force an American counterpart to cancel the meeting altogether.

On the other hand, Brazilians are relaxed with time. They argue that arriving a few minutes later than the scheduled time would provide the host with ample time to prepare adequately for the meeting.

The Americans also conduct their meetings within the scheduled duration of time; if the meeting was to last one hour, it will last exactly one hour and not a minute earlier or later. On the other hand, the Brazilians are relaxed with the pace at which they conduct their business meetings. Due to their lack of sense of time, negotiations among Brazilians take longer than initially planned for.

USA and Brazil Business Culture Training

A Brazil or USA cultural awareness training can have a massively positive impact on your business performance if done well. The skill of delivering a good programme is in being able to relate the generic Brazil and USA cultural points to the strategic and tactical objectives of the business.

If you are looking to improve your cultural understanding of Brazil or USA and improve your effectiveness as a result, please contact us for an initial discussion

About the author

Brazil-USA Trade