Theresa May, the new Prime Minister of Britain wanted to stay in the European Union. David Cameron did too, so he resigned. May took over because she wanted to respect the will of the people and make a success of the decision to leave the EU. Leaving the European Union is not something that happens overnight. Britain has to evoke an agreement called Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, and it takes someone schooled in EU bureaucracy to translate that agreement. The agreement gives both sides two years to agree on terms for the exit, and Mrs. May isn’t going to start that process until the end of 2016. The world is watching Britain go through the separation pains of leaving the EU, but business people like Flavio Maluf, the CEO of the international construction supply company Eucatex, based in Sao Paulo Brazil, wants the process to speed up.
Flavio Maluf has been running Eucatex for almost 20 years. Eucatex was born from a family owned sawmill in the early 1950s. The sawmill was cutting eucalyptus trees for domestic construction companies back then, and Flavio’s father decided to make ceiling tiles for those construction companies out of eucalyptus wood. The ceiling tiles were a success in the domestic consumer market, so Eucatex got into the export business based on that success. Flavio joined the company in 1987 after spending time in New York to continue his education. Portuguese is his native language so Flavio spent time studying English as well as business at New York University. Maluf helped his college friends translate English into Portuguese, and years later some of those friends relocated to Brazil to work.
Today, Eucatex is one of the top export companies in Brazil. Maluf is excited about the Brexit vote because there is a chance that Britain may decide to do more business with his company and with other companies in Brazil. Some members of the government are talking about developing a bilateral trade agreement with Britain once all the preliminary details are put to bed. Brazil needs a trading partner like Britain. When China cut back on imports from Brazil, it left a big hole in the export business. Maluf and other business leaders are trying to plug that hole.