Potential Services Cooperation Between Barbados And Brazil

As Barbados opens its Embassy in Brazil, much potential for economic cooperation in services exist. While Barbados is discussing with Brazil potential negotiations of a double tax and a bilateral investment treaty, significant potential opportunities exist in culture, especially film co-production, music, visual art, fashion, food, and architecture. This short article only mentions a few […]

By Bruce Zagaris

February 2, 2010

As Barbados opens its Embassy in Brazil, much potential for economic cooperation in services exist. While Barbados is discussing with Brazil potential negotiations of a double tax and a bilateral investment treaty, significant potential opportunities exist in culture, especially film co-production, music, visual art, fashion, food, and architecture. This short article only mentions a few of the many opportunities.

Co-Production in Film – Barbados is interested in developing its own indigenous film production. Brazil has a robust film industry.

The National Cinema Agency (Ag̻ncia Nacional de Cinema РANCINE) was created to integrate the several levels of cinema and video activities in Brazil, aiming at the improvement and growth of the sector within the frame of the economy through regulatory mechanisms of public intervention and support of the cinema industry.

The Audiovisual Act in Brazil authorizes the deduction of investment of independently produced audiovisual works up to the limit of 3% of the income tax of companies and 6% of the income of individuals.

Art. 3 authorizes the discount of income tax or of the credit of offshore remittance of earnings deriving from the commercial exploitation of foreign audiovisual works in Brazil on the amount of 70% of the tax payable for the investment in the co-production of Brazilian independent audio-visual cinematographic works.

Brazil has cinematographic co-production treaties with other countries which, by means of double nationality status, aim at promoting cultural integration, seeking alternative sources of funding and opening of new markets. Brazil also has multilateral and bilateral treaties. Barbados will want to consider having a co-production treaty with Brazil, as Brazil has at least 12 bilateral treaties and participates in 3 multilateral ones.

Having a co-production agreement will enable Barbados to tap some of the financing for Brazilian films.

During my Christmas holiday period I saw four new Brazilian movies. They ranged from a fantastic art film about the late film producer Glauber de Rocha (with financing from the government) to a movie on the President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula de Silva, a film on the role of an industrialist in the military dictatorship and his assassination, and a movie about a single woman in Sao Paulo who gets involved in a love triangle, leading to a murder suspense. Especially as the Brazilian government has engaged in supporting it, the Brazilian film industry is strong and has a lot of diversity. The industry also has an enormous amount of technical and professional skills and know how with which Barbados would benefit significantly.

The Brazilian telenovelas have been enormously successful. The Globo network has exported them to 128 countries. The telenovelas have a beginning, a linear plot and an ending. They reach television screens six nights a week during an eight-month (or longer) period during prime time. They may be romantic, tragic, or comic and sometimes all they may deal with are contemporary or historical themes. Their plots may derive from classics of Brazilian literature. They all have had a cultural impact, both nationally and internationally.

Another potential for shooting in Barbados is television. Brazil telenovelas sometimes shoot abroad. They have recently shot in Egypt and India. Countries invite them and give incentives. In 2009, Caminho das Indias (Road to Indies) was filmed in India. Almost three years have passed since the filming of the scenes of the Bollywood film  Dulha Mil Gaya on-location in Trinidad and Tobago. The film was theatrically released recently in India, and Trinidad and Tobago, was hailed as having “breathtaking locales.” Hence, co-production in films brings recognition and marketing for the tourism sector.

In order to explore co-production in films and other technical assistance and cooperation, Barbados may want to consider sending a representative someone to the Film Festival of Rio (www.festivaldorio.com.br). If they contact ANCINE, the Rio Film Commission, and the Ministry of Culture, they can then discuss co-production in Barbados.

Another strong point is that there is a strong music and dance element in Brazilian films. There are books on that subject (Brazilian music in its films). Barbados would especially find that appealing.

Barbados will also want to develop some financial incentives to have co-production films in Barbados.

Another reason to engage Brazil in culture is because tourists and people worldwide love Brazilian culture. To the extent Barbados can integrate a little Brazilian culture in Barbados, Barbados will add to the cultural aspects of its tourism product. To the extent Barbados can integrate Brazilian know-how and technology in film and music production, it will do well.


Brazilian music has enormous cooperation opportunities. Brazilian popular music has great diversity. For instance, the samba canção (samba song) combines the Spanish bolero with the cadences and rhythms of African music. Bossa nova has been influenced by samba and North American music, especially jazz. Tropicalismo combines influences ranging from bossa nova and Italian ballads to blues and North American rock. Potential Brazilian music that Barbadians would have an interest include: axé (up tempo Bahian), Brazilian popular music (música popular brasileira or MPB, which is a catchall phrase describing all Brazilian popular music post bossa nova), bossa nova, forró (country), samba, classical samba, lambada (a dance style influenced by carimbó and by Caribbean rhythms like rumba, merengue, and salsa), pagode (informal, backyard-party samba), fevro, chorlinho, sertanejo (a kind of Brazilian country and western music), etc. To the extent Barbadians can gain exposure to Brazilian music, it will be quite valuable in helping them grow and fuse their style.

An example of potential cooperation in music is the cooperation that has occurred between Jamaica and San Luis, Maranhão. Brazilian singers from Maranhão go to Jamaica to make CDs. Maranhão likes reggae.

Barbados has Crop Over and Brazil has Carnival. Because of the enormous size and diversity of Carnival in Brazil, Barbados could benefit from exchanges. Indeed, some classic Brazilian films, such as Marcel Camus’ 1959 film Orfeu Negro (Black Orpheus), combine Carnival with other themes.

Barbados can take advantage of its honorary consul in Rio de Janeiro. João Mauricio de Araujo Pinho, a respected and flamboyant attorney, has an entertainment practice that includes some of leading film producers and Brazilian musicians.

Visual Art

Still another area of potential interaction is visual art. Brazil has great colonial paintings, such as 17th-century Flemish painters, Brazilian baroque that peaked in the 18th century during the wealth fueled by the gold rush. In the 19th and 20th centuries, neoclassicism, romanticism, impressionism, and modernism characterized Brazilian art. Brazilian naive art and folk art as well as the mixture of art with Carnival and dance should be of great interest to Barbados and the Caribbean.


Brazilian fashion is another potential area of cooperation. Fashion Rio is a week during which some three dozen or so Brazilian designers, most of which are based in Rio – start eheir upcoming spring and summer collections. It attracts some of the top models. The Brazilian fio dental (“dental floss” bikinis) arose in the 1980s and still is a mainstay. Exposed bottoms, at least for women, are generally in vogue. Even some of the favela organizations, such as Coopa Roca (www.coopa-roca.org.br) have developed recognized fashion in London and worldwide. In the 1990s, it received commissions from department store C&A and top Brazilian designers. Coopa Roca has started created colorful crochet bags for British designer Paul Smith, window displays for Ann Taylor, and pieces for vanguard designers in France and Holland. Because of the similarity of climates, the fashion sector in Barbados will have a lot on which the drawn in Brazil


The enormous size and diversity of Brazil and its people provide richness in food. Brazil has an an abundance of juice bars, where people enjoy dozens of varieties of vitamin-filled elixirs, including Amazonian flavors like açaí (juice made from an Amazonian berry), cupuaçu (amazonian fruit), and others. Bajans will especially like the African dishes, such as shrimp-filled moqueca (seafood stew cooked in coconut milk), vatapão, or xixi de galinha (chicken) from Bahia, tender carne seca (jerked meat) covered in farofa (manioc flour), a staple in Minas Gerais, feijoada, the national dish of black beans, rice, assorted meats, a green-left vegetable called couvé, and farofa, which comes from the slave quarters of colonial sugar plantations) and the churrascarias, Brazil’s well known all-you-can-eat restaurants. Indeed, Brazilian-candied fruits can be a feature which Brazilian technology would do well in the Eastern Caribbean. Caparinhas (cane-sugar cachaça with lime, sugar, and shaved ice) are part of the Brazilian cuisine. Attracting some Brazilian restaurants that feature music at night would provide diversity to Barbados’ cultural offerings.

In pursuing services, Barbadians may want to interact with the soon to be opened Embassy in Brasilia, its honorary consuls in Rio (the above-mentioned Mr. Araujo Pinho), and São Paulo (Mr. Jorge Nemr, an energetic lawyer with Leite Tosto e Barros Advogados, a large law firm with multi offices in Brasil). Barbados Ambassador to the U.S. John Beale can continue to serve as a significant resource. This article barely touches on the many exciting potential opportunities awaiting Barbados as it embarks on its new Embassy in Brazil. By engaging Brazil in culture, Barbados will also curry favor with the potential for investment and tax treaties as well as better transportation links because it will be another solid engagement in a core aspect of Brazilian culture. Lack of direct and economic transportation remains a major barrier to better cooperation in cultural service. I can’t wait to sit on a restaurant in Barbados, sipping a caparinha with my flying fish and feijoada to the sounds of MPB or bossa nova.


Bruce Zagaris

Attorney in Washington, DC . A former lecturer at the University of the West Indies Law Faculty, he testified in Congress on the Caribbean Basin Initiative, and his practice has focused on Caribbean financial services and investment.

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