Those firms from Brazil that have the support of the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brazil) exported the equivalent to US$ 23.84 billion in the 12-month period ending in October 2008.
The figure represents 12% of total exports from Brazil during the period, according to figures disclosed this Tuesday, December 16, by the president of the agency, Alessandro Teixeira, in the city of São Paulo in Southeast Brazil.
From January to October, companies operating in partnership with the organization exported the equivalent to US$ 19.35 billion, growth of 18.74% over the same period of last year. In turn, total exports by Brazil grew 28% in the first 10 months of 2008.
"Our result was among the best in comparison with similar agencies based in other countries. The average international growth rate was between 5% and 6%," said Teixeira. The actions promoted by Apex represent 67 different exporter sectors, commodities not included, according to him.
Total foreign sales by those segments, including those by companies that are not affiliated with the agency, totaled US$ 27.36 billion from January to October, growth of 8.62% in comparison with the same period of 2007. According to Teixeira, this goes to show that the companies participating in the organization's projects "are more effective when it comes to exports."
The executive also stated that approximately 6,000 companies participate in actions by the Apex, 61% of which are micro and small-sized, 27% are medium and 12% are large. The large ones are mostly in the meat industry, a production chain that is at the top of the export basket for the segments supported by the agency.
Poultry and beef alone answered to 44.72% of total shipments. Other import sectors are shoes and components, machinery and engines, vehicles and parts, leathers, juice and textiles.
The 10 leading markets for companies supported by the Apex are Russia, the United States, Holland, Hong Kong, Japan, Venezuela, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and Germany. Saudi Arabia accounts for 3.95% of total exports.
According to Teixeira, the agency either organized or participated in 724 international events this year, including trade fairs, missions and other promotional actions. Investment by the Apex totaled 320 million reais (US$ 135 million) in 2008.
"Exports had an overall increase, even though they have decreased to some countries because the projects diversified the markets. Exporting to Peru, for instance, is easier than to the United States," said the president.
Thus, in 2009 the agency should intensify its promotional efforts in markets such as the United States, China, India, South Africa, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. In all, 23 destinations are regarded as priorities, to be targeted by 145 different actions.
The Apex is going to attend 745 international events in 2009, with total investment of 450 million reais (US$ 189.9 million). Even in the face of the crisis, Teixeira believes that exports by companies supported by the agency should grow by at least twice the global average rate.
He estimates that global trade should expand from 3% to 3.5%, whereas exports by companies involved in the agency's projects should rise by at least 6%.
Among the areas that are going to become part of the actions, he mentioned the dairy, teas and spices, biotechnology, entertainment products and services sectors.
With regard to attracting foreign investment, the Apex is preparing 29 actions in 13 different countries for next year. In 2008, Teixeira believes that foreign direct investment inflow into the country should reach the record-high figure of US$ 38 billion, as against US$ 35 billion in 2007. For 2009, due to the crisis, he estimates a lower figure, of around US$ 30 billion.
The president underscored that Brazil is currently regarded as one of the world's five countries most attractive for investment. In total, the Apex is going to inject 50 million reais (US$ 21.1 million) in actions turned to attracting investment in 2009.
The most promising sectors, according to Teixeira, are foodstuffs, real estate and tourism, the manufacturing industry, semi-manufactured goods and high-technology products, including computers, telecommunications and biotechnology.