By Claire West

Secretary of State for Business Dr Vince Cable will today visit future Olympic and World Cup host city Rio de Janeiro to help prepare for a decade of cooperation between the UK and Brazil around major sporting events.

Dr Cable has been accompanied on his relationship-building visit to Brazil by a 26-strong delegation of leading UK companies. The visit has already seen the creation of a UK-Brazil CEO forum, which will provide both governments with practical advice on the opportunities and issues to be addressed as part of an enhanced bilateral relationship.

Dr Cable and his counterpart Miguel Jorge also agreed to increase the role of representatives from business in the annual bilateral Joint Economic and Trade Committee talks, w here they will focus on priority sectors.

Meanwhile, a bilateral agreement to avoid the double taxation of international aircrew was signed during the visit, an important precursor to the long-term goal of a full double taxation agreement between the countries.

Meetings today with Brazilian business, government and Olympic Committe representatives in Rio come on the last day of his visit to the country. They follow talks yesterday with Brazil’s Sports Minister Orlando Silva on how to maximise the significant opportunities for business partnership between the host nations of global sporting events.

Dr Cable said:

“We are standing on the threshold of what promises to be a fantastic series of global sporting tournaments hosted by the UK and Brazil. This is a huge privilege and responsibility for us both, but also a real opportunity to share best practice and expertise.

“In London, the venues for the world’s first sustainable Olympic and Paralympic Games are being delivered on schedule, with 75p of every pound spent creating long-term regeneration value.

“UK companies have been involved in every major global sporting event in recent history. This is reflected in the strong business delegation that has accompanied me to build relationships in Brazil.”

Sports and leisure infrastructure is a significant growth area globally, cutting across a wide range of sectors such as sustainable infrastructure. UK companies already working with Brazilian partners on wider infrastructure include delegation member Halcrow, which has led the master planning for the new green High Speed Rail Link between Sao Paulo and Rio De Janeiro. The next phase of Brazil’s Accelerated Growth Plan includes infrastructure investments of £330 billion, not including £17 billion in Olympic and football facilities.

UK companies already operating in Brazil in other key areas of importance to the Brazilian economy:

•In education (Pearson provides educational services to Brazil’s growing workforce);

•In energy (Shell and Cosan have just signed an agreement to supply biofuel, while BG is the largest foreign investor in oil and gas in Brazil);

•In advanced engineering (Rolls Royce and GKN are active in Brazil);

•In biotechnology and pharmaceuticals (GlaxoSmithkline is active in Brazil).