“Spectacular,” was the way the president of the Foreign Relations Council at the São Paulo Manufacturers Federation (Conselho Superior de Relações Exteriores da Federação das Indústrias do Estado de São Paulo) (Fiesp), Rubens Barbosa, described Brazil’s foreign trade results for 2004.
“An exceptional year that ended with a series of positive factors that gave exports a boost,” he declared, adding that the “32% increase in exports and 30% increase in imports will be hard to top in the future.”
According to Barbosa, contributing factors to the strong growth in foreign trade in 2004 were the expanding economies in Brazil’s main trade partners, such as the US, Argentina and China; along with a spike in farm produce prices.
Barbosa also cited the joint effort by the government and the private sector in boosting exports.
Barbosa went on to say that the 2004 results show that structural reforms are essential.
“We cannot continue to grow like this without resolving our shortfalls in logistics, such as highways and port facilities,” he said. These problems will become a burden in the future, he declared.
In conclusion, Barbosa said the excellent trade performance translated into benefits for the population in the form of jobs and lower inflation.
Brazil has closed out 2004 with a trade surplus of US$ 33.696 billion, with exports at US$ 96.475 billion and imports at US$ 62.779 billion. For the year exports were up 32% and imports up 30%, compared to 2003.
In December, Brazil exported goods worth US$ 9.194 billion, a record for the month. Compared to December 2003, exports were up 30.3%.
December imports totalled US$5.684 billion, also a record for the month.
Translation: Allen Bennett