Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff and President Barack Obama are expected to announce as soon as today the inclusion of Brazilian frequent travelers in the U.S. Global Entry program, while the Brazilian leader is in Washington, D.C., on her first official visit to the United States this week.
But an end to tourist visa requirements for Brazilians traveling to the U.S. is unlikely, despite increased lobbying efforts in the past year by Florida and Orlando-based business leaders, according to Brazilian news reports.
Rousseff's visit this week is a rescheduling of one previously set for October 2013, which the Brazilian president canceled in the wake of revelations by former CIA analyst Edward Snowden that the U.S. had spied on her communications, and those of prominent business executives in Brazil.
Brazilian and American authorities have negotiated over the past year to include Brazil in the U.S. Global Entry program. The program permits the entry of American travelers and foreigners who frequent the U.S. -- mainly business travelers -- to move through Customs entry at U.S. airports without waiting in long immigration lines, following a pre-registration process.
Brazilian travelers would still need a business or tourist visa to enter the U.S., but those who pay a $100 application fee and pass a Global Entry interview at a U.S. consulate get to use the fast-pass program for five years. Global Entry kiosks are now present in 42 U.S. airports, including Orlando International.
More than 1.8 million foreign frequent travelers are currently included in the Global Entry program from countries like Mexico, South Korea and Germany.
But tourist visa requirements for Brazilians traveling to the U.S. are unlikely to end this year. Brazilians are the no. 1 tourist group for Orlando from outside North America, as of 2013, and American and Brazilian airlines have been adding new non-stop flights between Orlando and new Brazilian cities this year.
U.S. Homeland Security has reportedly been demanding an agreement that gives the U.S. government access to personal information about Brazilians that have faced legal charges, even those who haven't been convicted. The U.S. also wanted access to records of Brazilians suspected of terrorist activity, according to Brazilian news reports.
Chile, a country that was included in the U.S. tourist visa waiver program in 2014, had to accept such requirements, as have other countries the U.S. has waived visa requirements for.
Brazil and the U.S. announced an agreement Monday to open the U.S. to imports of raw beef from 14 Brazilian states, ending a 15-year effort by Brazil to tap into the lucrative U.S. raw beef market.
The opening could give nearly a dozen Brazilian steakhouses and restaurants in Greater Orlando direct access to import more unique, prized cuts of Brazilian grass-fed beef that currently aren't available from many meat distributors in the U.S.
It's a historic win for Brazil's industry, which is the world's leading beef exporter at roughly 2 million tons per year. The U.S. imports about 1 million tons of beef per year from various countries, and could source up to 100,000 tons from Brazil within the next five years.
Rousseff arrived in New York on Saturday, met with leaders of Brazilian multinational companies there on Sunday, and met leading U.S. investment group executives on Monday.
Rousseff then flew to Washington, D.C., Monday afternoon to meet with President Obama. She'll stay there today before continuing on to San Francisco on Wednesday, where she'll visit Google and meet Silicon Valley business leaders like Larry Page, Jeff Bezos and more.
The private meetings, organized by Brazil's finance minister, are meant for Rousseff to give a hands-on explanation of how Brazil is improving fiscal policy, to show investors the country is trying to turn around its ailing economy and reduce risks to foreign investors.
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