Canadian loans spur high-tech sales to Brazil

An aggressive Canadian drive to increase exports to Brazil has boosted trade between the two hemispheric giants from a meager $300 million (Canadian) in 1972 to $1.3 billion last year.

And Brazil is proving to be a willing partner - especially in purchasing specialized high-tech products designed and manufactured in Canada.

These products include telecommunications systems that operate across great and often-empty distances (Canada and Brazil have similar large geographies), remote sensing devices, environmental-control equipment, and ocean-engineering equipment.

Many of these high-tech sales are negotiated between the two countries' parallel state corporations. For example, Petro-Canada, a state oil agency, is sharing ocean-engineering expertise with Petrobras, Brazil's government oil corporation, which is heavily committed to offshore-oil exploration.

In the United States, Brazil's traditional North American trading partner, members of the Reagan administration - including William E. Brock, US trade representative - have publicly attacked Canada for using federal lending agencies to stimulate overseas business.

Last month Brazilian President Joao Figuereido visited Ottawa, the Canadian capital and a major new center of high-tech industries. During the visit the Canadian government's Export Development Corporation (EDC) signed an $84.6 million loan with Embratel, the Brazilian government's telecommunications corporation. The EDC funds hundreds of Canadian overseas industrial sales.

The Canadian loan will allow Embratel to buy two domestic communications satellites and associated ground equipment from Spar Aerospace Ltd. of Toronto. Other Canadian government loans announced during the Brazilian President's visit include $30 million (US) from EDC to Petrobras for purchase of petroleum-refining equipment and two smaller loans to EletroPaulo, another state communications agency, for the purchase of Canadian-made electrical-transmission equipment.

In coming to Ottawa, the Brazilian President visited the North American city with the fastest-growing telecommunications industry north of California's Silicon Valley.

During the 1970s and early '80s the Canadian government has strongly encouraged the emergence of a growing number of Canadian high-tech firms in this remote, northern city by supporting them with research grants and production contracts.

Much of this export business is also supported by the federal government's lending agencies. They include the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) for soft loans and the EDC for hard loans to state and private companies in the third world.

Telidon, a successful Canadian firm in the global video-text market, will be on view at ''Tech Canada '82,'' a display and teaching seminar to be held in Sao Paulo in mid-September. Along with Telidon, already a strong exporter to the US and Venezuela, 28 other Canadian firms involved in high-tech goods and services will appear.

Though the patent on Telidon's product is owned by the federal government's Ministry of Communications, manufacturing and marketing are done by selected private Canadian companies.

''Tech Canada '82'' will be financed and managed through this winning Canadian pattern of joint cooperation between government and private industry.

Its cohosts are the Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce, whose 230 member companies already operate branch plants or do business in Brazil, and CIDA's busy division for promotion of international trade.

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