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Brazil

Basic Information

Area: 8,514,877 km²

Calling code: +55

Population: 187,393,918

Official Language: Portuguese

Time zone: BRT (UTC-2 to -4), Local time: 17:50

Overview

Brazil is the largest country on the continent of South America, and covers an area of 3,287,597 square kilometers. Brazil's population in 2009 was estimated at 192,272,890 making it the 5th most populated country in the world. Brazil's huge landmass is divided into 26 states, known as estados. There is one major federal district which contains the main federal government along with the capital city of Brazil: Brasília. Brazil is divided into specific districts which are in place for geographical purposes, rather then political, as they do not have separate governing bodies.

The eastern area of Brazil is joined to the Atlantic Ocean and has over 7,000 km of coastline. Brazil shares its borders with ten other South American countries: French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay. Brazil is considered to be one of the major economic centres of the world. It is a founding member of the United Nations and The G-20, plus it is a member of the Mercoser agreement. The standard monetary system used in Brazil is the Real (BRL).

Economy

The Brazilian economy is currently the worlds 6th largest according to nominal GDP and by many estimates to become 5th by the end of 2012.
With an average annual GDP of 5% Brazil is also one of the fastest growing major economies in the world.

Infrastructure

There is a large road transportation structure operating in Brazil, the current length of roads throughout the country are nearly 2 million km. Even though most of the transportation of goods is by road, the road system is poorly maintained, and many roads in more remote areas remain unpaved. The Federal Railroad Corporation regulate most of the train systems within Brazil, although it has decreased in popularity throughout the years. Several of the larger cities have a metro system, including Rio De Janiero, Salvador and Brasília.

Brazil has over 2,500 airports, the largest being the São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport, which is located 15 miles away from central São Paulo and handles over 21million passengers per year. There are also a total of 36 deep water ports in Brazil, the largest being the Santos sea-port, which is also in the São Paulo state of Brazil. It is the major base for exports. Many products are shipped from this seaport, such as coffee, oil, steel, cars, bananas and cotton. It exports more than $118 billion worth of products every year; major trade partners are, The United States, Argentina and China. Areas that provide imported goods to Brazil are The United States, China and Germany.

There have been concerns over the reliability and efficiency of the energy infrastructure, after a number of blackouts in the city, including a large blackout in the capital of Brasilia in 2009. Brazil is trying to solve this problem, it has pumped over $47 billion of its investment budget back into planning new sources of energy plants. To fulfill its future energy needs, it is currently looking at building new nuclear reactors and power dams within the Amazon jungle. Currently Brazil mainly relies on hydro-power technology to create its electricity.

Workforce

In 2008, the National Research by Household Survey (PNAD) conducted a mass census into the demographic and ethnic breakdown of Brazil's inhabitants. According to the results, roughly 92 million (48.43%) of the countries inhabitants are white Brazilian, 83 million people described themselves as multiracial, and 13 million people as black inhabitants. The remaining ethnic groups of Asian Brazilian and Amerindian made up 0.58% and 0.28% of the total population respectively.

Brazil has an estimated labour force of over 95 million people. The primary industry within Brazil is the service sector, with 66% of the workforce employed in this sector. Agriculture makes up for 20% of the total jobs in the area, and the remaining 14% are employed in industry related businesses.

Brazil's estimated unemployment rate for 2009 was 7.9%. Brazil is a country of contradictions, whilst having a strong economy and large GDP, it also has extreme poverty: 26% of the population live below the poverty line. A total of 16.2% of the governments budget is given to improving educational systems, and the current literacy rate for the total population stands at 88.6%.

Business Costs

Brazil's personal income tax rates are based on a progressive income scale, currently set between 7.5% to 27.5%. Any non-residents working in Brazil pay a fixed tax rate of 27.5% regardless of what income bracket they fall into. For corporate rates there is a set basic rate of 15%, plus a 10% surtax and a social contribution tax of 9%, taking the total corporate tax rate to 34%. VAT rates vary from city to city, but are generally between 17% - 25%. The minimum wage for Brazil was raised in 2009 to 465 reais ($200.95) per month.

According to the 2010 Cushman & Wakefield report on office rental costs around the world, Rio De Janeiro is the most expensive rental area in Brazil and has an average rental cost of $68 per square foot, per year, within the CBD. This puts it in 13th place for the most expensive location, for rental costs in the world.

Brazil may be one of the largest economies in the world, but the countries brittle infrastructure has sparked fears over its future stability, with GDP levels shrinking for the first time in 17 years in 2009.
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