Brazil became an independent state in 1822, after three centuries under the rule of Portugal.
Brazil is South America's leading economic power and a regional leader. Highly unequal income distribution remains a pressing problem.
Eastern South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean.
Largest country in South America; shares common boundaries with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador.
Area - comparative
Similar to US.
Mostly tropical, but temperate in the south.
Recurring droughts in the northeast; floods and occasional frost in south.
White (includes Portuguese, German, Italian, Spanish, Polish) 55%, mixed white and black 38%, black 6%, other (includes Japanese, Arab, Amerindian) 1%.
Roman Catholic (nominal) 80%
More: Curious Stats
Green with a yellow lozenge and a central blue sphere in it.
New Year's Day (Jan. 1); Epiphany (Jan. 6); Carnival (week preceding Ash Wednesday); Good Friday; Easter; Tiradentes Day (Apr. 21); Labor Day (May 1); Corpus Christi (May 27); Independence Day (Sept. 7); Our Lady of Aparecida Day (Oct. 12); All Souls' Day (Nov. 2); Declaration of the Republic Day (Nov. 15); Christmas (Dec. 25).
Offices: Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. or 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Banks: Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Government: Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Retail: Weekdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m to 1 p.m Shopping centers: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Source data above: mostly CIA, The World Fact Book
Brazilian vacation season
The Brazilian main vacation season (and the coincident school vacations) is December-February. During this period, accommodation in cities like Rio the Janeiro and coastal south cities is more difficult and expensive and the beaches and streets are more crowded.
The economic importance of Brazil
With its 210 million people, Brazil is the 15th largest world economy. About half of South American territory and economic production is Brazilian. Brazil is, undoubtedly, South America's dominant country - a politically stable country, with friendly relations with all western countries.
Top Brazilian business centres: Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and Belo Horizonte
Sao Paulo is a sophisticated business centre. Most of the industrial, commercial and entrepreneurial heart of Brazil is located in Sao Paulo. But Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and Belo Horizonte are also important business references.
Rio de Janeiro is important in service sectors and as a headquarter of many Brazilian state companies, as well as a headquarter for oil and major institutions and big private corporations. Brasilia is important as the government and embassies seat and Belo Horizonte as a major mining and industrial center.
These four cities are closely connected through a shuttle service. There are constant flights (every 15 minutes during rush hours) between Sao Paulo and Rio, from downtown airports.
Tourist and Business visa
The participants in artistic or amateur sport competitions, scientists, teachers and researchers attending cultural, technological, or scientific conferences, seminars or meetings do not need a business visa if there aren't monetary prizes or payments involving Brazilian agents. If you are included in one of these categories of visitors, you are subjected to the rules of leisure travels: you will not need any visa if you are a citizen of EU, but you will need a visa for tourist travelling if you are a USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand citizen.
Business travels need a business visa, which can be obtained by presenting the correspondent request of a visa (including a business letter from your company with some details about you and your visit) to a Brazilian consulate or to the Brazilian embassy.
Brazilian visas must be obtained in advance, not in the airport. You will risk failing your entry without a valid visa.
Do not misinterpret some ways of the Brazilians doing business - lunches near the beach, in Rio, for example - with a lack of professionalism. Do not underestimate Brazilian negotiators or misunderstand their fun spirit or slow negotiation pace. Brazilians can be hard negotiators and they have much more know-how and are more informed with modern business practices than it may seem.
Be prepared with technical details and informed about Brazilian economic environments.
Brazilian office hours are, usually, between 8 am - 6 pm. But decision-makers often begin their work later in the morning and stay later in the evening.
10-13 am and 3-5 pm (1-3 pm is often lunch time) are the best hours for telephone calls and business contacts with Brazilian executives.
English is accepted by part of Brazilian executives, but most of the business should be conducted in Portuguese. The non-Portuguese speaking executives may need an interpreter for most of business relationships, and the correspondence, in many cases, should also be in Portuguese (and technical data should be in metric system). Spanish isn't an alternative to Portuguese: Brazilians, in general, prefer the English as a second business language.