A study to identify key sectors of opportunity for Atlantic Canadian firms in Brazil

To Be Canada Inc.

Published: December 2011

For a copy of the study, please call our toll-free number: 1-800-561-7862 (TTY 1-877-456-6500).

Executive summary

This report has been prepared for The Canada-Atlantic Provinces Agreement on International Business Development (IBDA). The Governments of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are highly cognizant of changing dimensions of the global economy and are looking at growing trade with newer economies. Atlantic Canadian businesses are also looking at expanding their operations and providing services to markets beyond developed economies such as the United States. Since Brazil is one such market, a study was conducted to identify the potential available to Atlantic Canadian businesses to export to Brazil in the nine identified sectors:

1. Information and communications technologies

2. Environmental technologies

3. Oil and gas equipment and services

4. Life sciences and biotechnology

5. Ocean technology

6. Aerospace, defence and security

7. Mining

8. Education

9. Food/seafood

This report was created after reviewing vast amount of literature and information; relevant and useful articles were studied with a goal to provide companies with information in a user-friendly and succinct manner.

The secondary research was supplemented and validated by primary research that included interviewing key stakeholders and business owners in Atlantic Canada and Brazil who provided valuable insights into the selected sectors and the Brazilian market. Refer to Appendix "A" for list of managers interviewed during primary research.

The findings of this study validate the potential in the Brazilian market and possible opportunities available to Atlantic Canadian organizations in each of the indentified sectors.

Information and communications technologies

Atlantic Canadian firms have strength in and opportunities exist in the Brazilian market to provide technologies for the banking sector; security and privacy software and technology; internet and data security; eLearning and distance education technology; and gaming and mobile applications.

Environmental technologies

Atlantic Canadian sector strengths aligned to opportunities in the Brazilian market include water and wastewater treatment and water management technologies; equipment, machinery and technologies related to recycling of garbage and waste materials; site remediation systems; and technologies related to renewable energies.

There are various projects in this sector funded by the Brazilian government as well as governments of other countries such as the US, UK and Canada. Moreover, Brazil also receives funding from the IDB and World Bank for environment sustainability initiatives.

Oil and gas equipment and services

There are tremendous opportunities for Atlantic Canadian companies to supply equipment and services to the OGES sector in Brazil with both domestic and foreign oil and gas operators. However, many of these opportunities are with Petrobras and include Exploration and Production (E&P) critical equipment; critical services for E&P activities; and downstream segment (refineries, etc) critical equipment and services. Other opportunities in this sector are training and education services and innovative technologies related to the oil and gas sector.

Life sciences and biotechnology

Given Atlantic Canada’s pioneering innovation there may be opportunities available for technology transfer specifically for the generic drug market and those related to tree improvement and "green technologies for forest pest protection. Nutraceuticals are also in high demand in the Brazilian market. There is a shortage of skilled workforce in the biotechnology industry providing opportunities for training and educational services.

Ocean technology

Many of the opportunities available in the ocean technologies industry in Brazil are aligned to the strengths of Atlantic Canadian companies. These include acoustic systems and equipments, imaging and simulation, marine communications, instrumentation and information systems. Atlantic Canada’s reputation and expertise in the ocean technologies sectors provides it with opportunities to collaborate with the public and private sectors for technology transfers.

Aerospace, defence and security

There are many opportunities in the Aerospace, Defense and Security sector in Brazil and many of these demands can be met by Atlantic Canadian firms. This sector has two prominent opportunities; the first is in the parts, components and maintenance and repair overhaul for civil and military aircrafts. The second is providing technology, equipment and parts for internal security.


The presence of many Canadian companies in Brazil as well as Vale’s sites in Newfoundland and Labrador offer many opportunities to leverage local relationships in order to enter the Brazilian market. In addition to equipment, services and software there are opportunities for Atlantic Companies currently working in support of local mining projects.


The opportunities in the Brazilian education market include, English language courses, higher education, vocational and executive training and distance learning. There is also a need for contemporary curriculum design and content creation, technologies for eLearning and virtual classrooms. Atlantic Canadian firms not only have strengths in higher education, English courses and distance learning but they are also highly respected globally and provide value for money.


Atlantic Canadian companies can look for opportunities in the food market segments that are expected to grow in Brazil in the future. Some of the products that could be exported are potatoes, vegetables and fish (the salt fish market is growing in Brazil particularly Atlantic Cod).

Furthermore, the report provides Atlantic Canadian business leaders with information on establishing and conducting business in Brazil and includes information on the Brazilian tax structure, import regulations and logistics, import programs, licensed custom brokers, government incentives, and foreign operation costs evaluation.

Finally, the document provides critical information such as a list of professionals that can be contacted for services in Brazil, information on trade fairs and other useful information for business leaders exploring opportunities in Brazil.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: