Brazil Opens Office in Europe to Fight Trade Barriers

CNI, National Confederation of Industries president Brazil's National Confederation of Industries (CNI) and the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) are going to inaugurate, in early 2010, an office in Brussels, to prevent losses caused by technical norms stipulated by the European Union (EU) that affect Brazilian exports to the bloc.

Technical norms issued by the countries of the EU have been working as non-tariff barriers and halting exports of several sectors, like meats, marble and granite and chemicals.

The president at the Apex, Alessandro Teixeira, recalled that the European Common Market is the third main destination for Brazilian exports, responsible for around US$ 31 billion between January and November this year. He also pointed out that Brazil has been losing business due to these technical norms that catch Brazilian companies by surprise.

"We recently lost exports because Ireland made a lobby against Brazilian beef and we had nobody to defend us," pointed out Teixeira. "With the office, we are going to stay ahead of the problems," he said.

According to the president at the Apex, the chemical and Marble sectors were also negatively affected by recent European Union regulations that work as protectionist measures. Teixeira recalled that China has had an office for this job for several years and Russia invested US$ 100 million in its office last year.

The agreement between the CNI and the Apex was signed on Tuesday,  December 15, in Brasí­lia. The office in Brussels should start operating in January 2010.

According to CNI president Armando Monteiro Neto, the partnership is aimed at permanent monitoring of commercial and financial policies adopted or under discussion in the European Union, in search of identification of obstacles and opportunities for the operation of the domestic industry.

He pointed out that the agenda of the office in Brussels should be established in partnership between the CNI and the Apex, through mechanisms for inquiry and dissemination of information to the industrial sector.

To Alessandro Teixeira, the only agreement of this kind that Brazil has signed should provide greater breath to exports to the EU.

"It is not possible to forecast by how much exports are going to rise, but what I can say is that they are going to stop falling," he concluded.

Apex promoted, in 2009, over 800 events for commercial promotion worldwide, with 40% going to countries in the European bloc.

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