Brazilians are talking about increasing exports of chocolates and sweets to markets with great potential and that are still little explored by Brazilian companies, like, for example, Asia, Middle East and Eastern Europe.
To promote the sector in countries of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) and the Brazilian Cocoa and Confectionery Manufacturers Association (Abicab) are going to invest 6.4 million Brazilian reais (US$ 2.6 million) in promotion activities up to 2010.
Among the international fairs that the organizations are studying is joint participation in the Gulfood, the largest food sector fair in the Middle East, to take place in Dubai. Apart from the fair, organizations also plan to organize trade missions to the Middle East and Singapore.
"The Arab countries are a market to be explored, as they have a different language and customs," said the person in charge for Foreign Relations at Abicab, Natasha Bauab.
According to her, the organization selected 10 potential countries in which to develop prospecting work, among them Algeria and Egypt. "We are going to start investing in these countries," said Natasha, who used consumption, share of Brazilian exports, import tariffs, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and population figures for the choice of the countries.
From January to October, Brazilian exports of chocolate, cocoa, peanuts, sweets and their products to the Arab countries reached US$ 5.6 million, which represents growth of 9.2% over the same period last year.
The Emirates, Yemen, Lebanon, Libya and Egypt are the main destinations in the Arab market. When comparing the first 10 months of the year with the same period in 2007, the Arab country that presented the greatest growth in imports of Brazilian products was Egypt, up 263%. Sales grew from US$ 103,000 to US$ 373,000.
According to figures collected by the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, using figures supplied by the Foreign Trade Development Secretariat, the Arab market was the 10th main destination for Brazilian sector exports. The main products shipped were bonbons, caramel sweets, chewing gum and chocolates.
The agreement signed for promotion of sector exports should benefit 26 large, medium and small companies that together represent 43% (17,000) of all sector direct jobs. The states that are going to receive part of the investment are: São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Rio Grande do Norte and Rio Grande do Sul.
The project target is to increase the value of exports of the participating companies by 10%. They currently represent 37% (US$ 111 million) of the total exported by the sector. According to the Abicab, in 2007 Brazilian exports of sweets reached US$ 300 million, with the sale of 158,000 tons.
The main buyers were the United States, Argentina, Paraguay, South Africa and Canada. Brazil exports sweets and their products to around 150 countries.