A Brazilian Mission to Dubai Looks for a Piece of the Middle East

Civil construction in Brazil With an eye to the business potential in Dubai, the Mato Grosso state branch of the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae Mato Grosso) is going to promote a delegation to the emirate in 2009. Interest in the region was recently intensified, when a group of 32 businessmen, visited several enterprises and participated in meetings to prospect business.

"We made many important visits. In the building sector we visited Nakheel, in the area of hotel management and tourism, and visited the Burj Al Arab. We also visited the Apex and Arab Brazilian Chamber Business center and participated in a meeting with Brazilian businessmen who also do business in Dubai," explained André Schelini, the technician of the Market Access Unit at the Sebrae/MT, who accompanied the group.

"Brazilian businessmen who have already worked in Dubai, mainly in the building sector, explained that they could not even supply 20% of the demand in the region which in growing and building solidly. There is much space for Brazilian companies there," he added.

According to Schelini, the strategy of the government of the Emirates, whose motto is 'we inspire humanity', is to reduce dependence on oil.

"For this reason they are already seeking new alternatives in the service sector and are now investing in mega constructions and tourism. In building the largest building, the largest palm, the largest theme park, the largest marina in the world, and they are managing. People go to Dubai seeking this potential," stated Schelini. "All of the Emirates are attractive, and are working as depots," he added.

The stop off in Dubai is part of the actions for mobilization of the program for internationalization of micro, small and medium companies, work that includes the efforts of the Government of the State of Mato Grosso, Sebrae Mato Grosso and partners.

In last July, for example, the Sebrae and the Industry, Trade, Mines and Energy Secretariat of the state promoted the United Arab Emirates Meeting – Perspectives and Opportunities, whose main speaker was the secretary general at the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, Michel Alaby.

Themes to be discussed include exports to the Emirates, reimports and reexports through Dubai, figures and market information, investment in tourism and facilities in the other emirates (Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Qwain, Ajman and Fujairah).

In the evaluation of the Industry, Trade, Mines and Energy secretary of the state of Mato Grosso, Pedro Nadaf, who is also the president of the Board of Governors of the Sebrae Mato Grosso, Dubai is a market with great economic perspectives.

"The objective of the delegation to Dubai is to improve trade relations as much as possible and open new routes among the state and the Arab country." He recalls that Mato Grosso has already exported products to open the Arab countries, mainly beef. "We are now going to seek greater opportunities for both and are going to try to bring Arab investors to Mato Grosso," he pointed out.

Dubai receives six million tourists a year and new attractions are arising constantly. The constructions are all turned to strengthening Dubai's image as a young city, with modern skyscrapers, and not as a place with historic, natural or religious appeal as is the case with its Middle Eastern neighbors.

For those seeking snow, Dubai is building one of the largest indoor ski slopes in the world. There is also the Burj Dubai, to be the largest tower in the world. The company responsible for the tower, Emaar Properties, refuses to reveal how tall the building will be, to prevent others planning a taller one. Some blocks away, cranes are already working on the largest shopping center in the world.

Along the shoreline, in the luxury US$ 500-million underwater hotel, named Hydropolis. Dubai's Nakheel is building two U$ 1-billion islands in the shape of palms to house resorts and villas. They have also started building 'The World', a set of artificial islands that brings to mind the world map.

Islands in the shape of France and Australia are among the options foreigners may purchase after the law that allows people who are not citizens of the United Arab Emirates to reside in properties in the country for 99 years. The country's position between Asia and the West and perceptive businessmen have transformed what was a point in the desert into a regional business center.

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