In an effort to improve relations of their countries with Rio de Janeiro in the Brazilian southeast, 12 Arab ambassadors to Brazil are meeting with local authorities and businessmen. The trip is organized by the Council of Arab Ambassadors and the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, to be represented by president Salim Taufic Schahin and secretary-general Michel Alaby.
On the agenda of the ambassadors are meetings with the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, and with state governor Sérgio Cabral Filho. The agenda also includes a meeting with the director of the Federation of Industries of the State of Rio de Janeiro (Firjan) and a visit to the Projac, a Globo TV production center.
The trip is part of the official visit agenda of the Arab ambassadors to Brazilian states. They normally promote one or two visits each semester to different capitals in the country.
According to Alaby, the visit to Rio should serve to learn about the potential of the state, to talk to authorities and businessmen, to learn about cooperation possibilities, investment opportunities and trade.
"Rio de Janeiro is one of the important capitals in Brazil and has one of the main and busiest oil import terminals," said the secretary general. He believes that there are many possibilities for closer ties between Arabs and citizens of Rio de Janeiro in the area of tourism. "Attraction of Arab tourists and investment in the area in Rio de Janeiro," he explained.
The trade balance of the Arab countries with Rio de Janeiro is very favorable for the Arabs due to Brazilian imports of oil. According to figures supplied by the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, from January to April this year, the Arab countries sold to Rio de Janeiro a total of US$ 573.5 million and imported from the state a total of US$ 16.9 million. Arab exports were basically oil and exports from Rio de Janeiro included products like iron laminates, glass insulators and rebar.
The Arab delegation should include the head of the League of Arab States to Brazil, Bachar Yagui, the ambassador of Kuwait and dean of the Council of Arab Ambassadors, Waleed Al-Kandari, as well as ambassadors M'hamed Achache (Algeria), Ramez Goussous (Jordan), Salem Al Zubaidi (Libya), Jamal Al-Bader (Qatar), Seifeddine Cherif (Tunisia), Kane N'Diaye (Mauritania), Ibrahim Al-Zeben (Palestine), Omar Abubaker (Sudan), Ahmed Darwish (Egypt) and Mohamed Louafa (Morocco).