Brazilian states that are not traditional exporters have started seeing foreign trade as a form of economic growth. Pushed by a federal government program called Exporter State, the northern states of Acre, Amapá, Rondônia, Roraima and Tocantins, the Federal District, and PiauÀ and Sergipe, both northeastern states, worked on increasing their participation in the Brazilian trade balance last year.
Rondônia and Tocantins exceeded the US$ 100 million target stipulated by the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade for units of the federation that had less than this total in foreign trade.
The state of Tocantins rose from export revenues of US$ 45.5 million in 2003 to US$ 116 million in 2004, presenting an increase of 157%, and Rondônia grew from US$ 97 million to US$ 133 million, growth of 37%.
The remaining states increased their exports, but have not yet reached the target.
“The objective is to help exceed the figure of US$ 100 million as soon as possible and generate minimum growth of 20% a year,” stated the Ministry foreign trade secretary, Ivan Ramalho.
All of these states exceeded the percentage in 2004, and six had increases over the country average, of 34%.
The Federal District had revenues of US$ 28 million with exports in 2004, Amapá US$ 46.8 million, Acre US$ 7.6 million, Sergipe US$ 47.6 million, Roraima US$ 5.2 million and the state of Piauí, US$ 73 million. Together, the eight units exported US$ 459.6 million in 2004, against US$ 284.3 million in 2003.
The government’s objective is to diversify the origin of Brazilian exports, currently largely focussed on the Southern and Southeastern region of the country.
Alone, the southeastern state of São Paulo answered to 32% of Brazilian exports in 2004. Apart from the Federal District, which is in the Midwest, the remaining units of the federation involved in the project are in the North and Northeast of Brazil.
The Ministry of Development forecast for growth of Brazilian exports in 2005 is 12%. “If these states grow above this percentage, the difference will drop,” stated Carvalho.
According to Carvalho, this greater participation by the eight units of the federation included in the program in 2004 helped add new products to the Brazilian export basket. A large part of the sales by these states, however, are those of primary products.
At the top of the list of products sold by the state of Tocantins, for example, are soy and meats. In the state of Rondônia, the main items are wood, meats and ores. The state of Tocantins, however, also has pineapple juice among its list of main export products and Rondônia is also making an effort to sell more finished products.
“We are starting a strong industrialization process, especially of foods,” stated the state of Rondônia secretary of Agriculture, Production and Economic and Social Development, Luiz Cláudio Pereira Alves. This year two condensed milk industries will start operating in the state.
There are already 72 companies in the dairy product area, according to Alves, 11 cold storage industries and five tanneries that prepare wet-blue leather, the product at its initial phase. One of the tanneries is going to start producing semi-finished leather in 2005.
The state is also a traditional producer of wood and grain, like maize, soy and beans, and produces milk, coffee and ores. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the state of Rondônia grew 9.2% in 2004, well above the national average, which rose 5.3%.
From the North to the Arabs
The Arab countries collaborated to the increase in exports by Brazilian states with less tradition in foreign trade. Egypt was the seventh largest destination for exports from the state of Rondônia, Saudi Arabia was the 16th, Morocco the 23rd and Kuwait the 28th.
Together, the four countries answered to 7.34% of state foreign trade revenues. Sales to Egypt rose from US$ 534,000 to US$ 6.7 million.
The fifth main destination for products made by the state of Tocantins was Algeria, and the ninth was Saudi Arabia. The list of main destinations for state exports also includes countries like the Emirates, Egypt, Libya, Kuwait, Jordan and Lebanon. The eight Arab countries answered to 6.1% of Tocantins state exports.
For this year the government has included another two states, Alagoas and Paraíba, both northeastern states, in the Exporter State program.
Both, however, have as their targets exceeding revenues of US$ 500 million in export revenues, as they already export over US$ 100 million.
Alagoas had revenues of US$ 457 million with foreign trade last year, and Paraíba, US$ 213 million.
The states that were in the program and have already exceeded the US$ 100 million barrier have now been given a US$ 500 million target.
ANBA ”“ Brazil-Arab News Agency