Brazil's fast-growing economy makes the country an attractive market for exporters.
With the Summer Olympics and the World Cup on the horizon, not to mention a surging population of 200 million, Brazil is stepping up spending on its infrastructure.
The country was appealing to Liberty Pumps, a Genesee County-based manufacturer that was scouting new export targets for its 60-hertz pumps. After laying the groundwork, the company recently started shipping its products there.
John DeLuca, international sales manager, told an audience at a World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara event Wednesday that entering Brazil took preparation, such as choosing the right distributor.
"Everybody wants to be your dealer down there, but there's only one or two Mr. Rights," he said.
It was at a trade show in Brazil that Liberty Pumps connected with FAMAC, which became its distributor in the country, for wastewater and sewer applications.
"They're interested in capitalizing on that rapid [infrastructure] growth," he said. "We have the product line they're looking for. It's a good marriage."
Entering a new country can be educational. After Liberty Pumps struck a deal with FAMAC, it shipped some products for its new partner to evaluate. That became a trial run for its transportation system.
"It took us six, eight weeks to get our products in Brazil," DeLuca said. "We thought that was forever. Actually, that's pretty good, we're finding out. So do that, because once you go through it, then you're ready for the next order, and the next order, and the next order."
FAMAC has estimated that Liberty Pumps will generate about $400,000 in sales in Brazil in its first year. "I think it will be a little more conservative than that, but that's what they think," DeLuca said.
Liberty Pumps generated $44 million in revenue in 2010. The family-owned business was founded in 1965 and is based in Bergen, just west of Rochester. It employs 130 people, and exports account for about 12 percent of its revenues.
DeLuca said Liberty Pumps has benefited from export guidance by the World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara and the U.S. Department of Commerce. The company identified the products that it could sell in Brazil and determined the price it could charge to be competitive.
Randall Waldron, vice president of sales and marketing, said patience is important when exporting to Brazil. "It takes longer than you would expect, compared to establishing new customers here in the U.S.," he said. "It seems like it takes a lot longer to kind of court the customer, and get them to come around and build that level of trust."
But based on statistics, Brazil is worth the wait. It is the world's fifth-most-populous nation, has a Gross Domestic Product of more than $2 trillion and had a stellar growth rate of 7.5 percent last year, said Sonny Naru, international trade consultant for World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara.
Naru called Brazil "definitely a market everybody should be doing business in." But he also called it "not the easiest place to do business in. There is a lot of red tape, there are hurdles."
But groups such as the World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara, he said, can help companies navigate the difficult process.