Lebanese president, Michel Suleiman, should visit Brazil this year. According to the consul general of the Arab country to São Paulo, Joseph Sayah, the date has not yet been defined, but may be in the second half of April.
According to Sayah, Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva invited his Lebanese colleague to come to Brazil one year ago. The diplomat added that Suleiman was inaugurated in the office a little over a year and a half ago and now plans to start traveling to several countries. There is special interest in Brazil, as the country houses the main Lebanese community in the world.
Sayah, who has been the country’s consul general to São Paulo for over eight years, pointed out the good relations between Lebanon and Brazil and the Lebanese immigrants and descendants who live in the country. “The community has been developing wonderful work,” he pointed out.
In the commercial area, he said that there is little business and the trade balance results in a surplus for Brazil.
According to figures supplied by the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Brazilian exports to Lebanon generated US$ 310.6 million last year, growth of 13.4% over 2008. The main products shipped were raw meats, live cattle, coffee, semi products in iron and steel, diesel oil, cashew nuts, sugar, processed meats, paper, vehicles and auto parts.
On the other lane, Brazil imported only US$ 1.4 million from Lebanon in 2009, against US$ 53.5 in the previous year. In 2008, the trade basket included mainly fertilizers. Last year, there was import of plastics, food products and marble.
Sayah said that an economic and commercial cooperation agreement was signed between both countries in 2003. Up to now, however, the treaty has not been put in place. The diplomat said that he hopes it may be placed into practice with the visit of Suleiman, which would help expand trade.