MANATEE -- The Manatee County Commission on Tuesday OK'd a new partnership between Port Manatee and Rio de Janeiro's port that could bring more business to Manatee County, officials said.
Port Manatee and Docas do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro's port authority, will become International Sister Seaports, establishing new opportunities for foreign trade between the U.S. and Brazil.
Jorge Luiz de Mello, president-director of the Rio de Janeiro Port Authority, signed an agreement with county commissioners during the board's meeting in Bradenton Tuesday.
Carlos Buqueras, executive director of Port Manatee, and Whitmore signed on behalf of Port Manatee.
The International Sister Seaports Agreement will help establish regular shipping lines between Port Manatee and Brazilian seaports, including the Rio de Janeiro Port Authority, and will allow for the free and uninhibited exchange of information related to the two ports' cargo industries, statistics, planned infrastructure developments, marketing and research.
The agreement will also establish goodwill ambassadors to exchange educational visits between the ports and help implement the intent of the agreement.
Brazil is Florida's largest trade partner, and Port Manatee is a principal importer in the Southeastern U.S. of Brazilian orange juice and lumber.