BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Brazil hopes to generate $1 billion in export deals during the Confederations Cup, the warm-up tournament for the 2014 World Cup, the government said Wednesday.

The government's Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency says it is using football as a way to bring foreign and local business representatives together during the two-week tournament that begins Saturday in Brasilia.

"We have top quality stadiums which, together with the high quality of Brazilian football and the country's competitive and innovative companies, form a fantastic business platform," Mauricio Borges, the agency's president told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

He said foreign business executives will visit Brazilian companies around the country and later go with their Brazilian hosts to watch Confederations Cup games.

He said a group of Japanese businessmen recently visited the wine-growing regions in southern and northeastern Brazil and will be in Brasilia on Saturday to watch Brazil play Japan in the opening game of the Confederations Cup.

More than 1.000 businessmen from 71 countries will take part in the trade promotion program that includes meetings with representatives of 492 Brazilian companies.

Borges said business representatives from the technology, health, construction, agriculture, machinery and equipment and service sectors are expected to be in Brazil during the Confederations Cup.

A similar program has been in place since 2009 when foreign business executives were invited to Brazil during the country's Carnival season to discuss trade and investment opportunities and watch Rio de Janeiro's famous Carnival parade. According to the trade promotion agency, $941 million worth of export deals emerged during this years' Carnival.


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