Businessmen from five Arab countries are participating since yesterday, in São Paulo, the largest business center in South America, in business roundtables with Brazilian companies. This is one of the most important Arab trade delegations ever to come to Brazil.
The group includes representatives from Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, Yemen and Lebanon, interested mainly in buying. The meetings, organized by the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (CCAB), will take place at Renaissance hotel, close to the central region of the city.
“This is a large delegation, and it may be seen as a glimpse into the summit between Arab and South American countries,” stated CCAB president Antonio Sarkis Jr., referring to the meeting between heads of state of countries in both regions, to take place in Brazilian capital Brasília in May this year.
“It shows the interest in Brazil that has been generated among the Arab countries,” he added.
In the evaluation of the dean of the Arab Country Ambassador’s Council and Palestinian ambassador in Brasília, Musa Odeh, the mission represents an “important step” before the summit, as the main matters to be covered at the event in Brasília will be closer economic ties.
“The presence in this delegation of businessmen from various countries is going to provide incentives to the travel of others and will make greater trade possible,” he said.
To Sarkis, the Arab businessmen arrive in São Paulo “with a desire for products.” “They know that Brazil is currently an excellent opportunity due to the competitiveness of its products, both agricultural and manufactured,” he explained.
More than simply buying and selling products, Odeh believes that a mission like this one may open space for reciprocal investment. “It is important that Arab businessmen start investing in Brazil and that Brazilian businessmen start investing in the Arab countries,” declared the ambassador.
In all, 29 companies and Arab institutions are going to be represented in the delegation. They are interested in business in various sectors, like electric equipment, vehicles, auto parts, machinery and equipment, medical equipment, garments, ornamental stones, construction material, paper products, cleaning material, food in general, agricultural commodities and wood, among others.
According to the secretary general of the CCAB, Michel Alaby, the Jordanian businessmen, the largest number on the delegation, are mainly interested in industrialized products, such as auto parts and canned food.
The Jordanians also want to sell raw materials for the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries, products that represent two important sectors for the country economy.
The Iraqi and Palestinian businessmen, in turn, according to Alaby, are arriving in Brazil mainly seeking basic products, but they are also after products for use in civil construction, among them material and equipment for construction in general, electric components, water pipes and equipment for refrigeration.
This is the case, for example, of Sadoon Saoud, manager of Karm Contracting, from Iraq. He is interested in purchasing machinery and equipment for the construction industry, among them concrete mixers and pumps.
“Our forecast is to find good routes for cooperation for the reconstruction of our country,” he said by email. Saoud is also after machinery for production of steel pipes. “There are good companies in Brazil and possibilities for business with them,” he added.
Businessmen from Yemen, in turn, are more interested in the purchase of agricultural commodities and food products. With regard to the Lebanese, according to Alaby, they are after suppliers of sugar and equipment for the refining of the product, as there is interest in the construction of a new sugar refinery in the country.
Yesterday, before the business roundtables, there was a seminar about business opportunities, also at Renaissance hotel. The speakers included Sarkis Jr., Alaby and Mohammad Thabet A. Taher, former Jordanian minister of Industry and Trade.
Today, representatives from the delegation also have meetings scheduled for the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo (Fiesp) and with the state secretary of Science, Technology, Economic Development and Tourism, João Carlos Meirelles.
Translated by Mark Ament
ANBA ”“ Brazil-Arab News Agency