For the first time Brazilian exports topped the US$ 100 billion level in a period of 12 months. The accumulated result between March 2004 and February 2005 was disclosed yesterday, in BrasÀlia, capital city of Brazil, by the Minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Luiz Fernando Furlan.
According to the Minister, the record numbers for February, with shipments of US$ 7.7 billion and imports of US$ 4.9 billion, positively surprised his team. The ministry hoped to reach the US$ 100 billion objective only at the end of March.
In the beginning of the current government’s term (in 2003), they believed this level would only be reached next year. In total, foreign sales in the period from March 2004 to February 2005 added up to US$ 100.153 billion.
“I would like to, in the name of the government, thank the companies that dedicated themselves to foreign trade for their efforts which caused the anticipation of the aim forecasted for the end of 2006,” said Furlan, who gathered representatives from the 15 main export sectors to announce the results.
“This had much to do with the increase of industrialised product exports, which had an extraordinary increase in the last months, with participation that reached, now in February, 58% of our export basket,” added the minister.
The government estimates that in the period between January and December 2005, exports should reach US$ 108 billion. If this value is confirmed, it will represent an increase of 12% in comparison to the 2004 total, which was of US$ 96.4 billion.
However, according to Furlan, if the current performance is kept throughout the year, the aim may be revised. He expects foreign trade will continue to fuel the increase in the Brazilian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and industrial production.
According to information released yesterday by the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics (IBGE), the GDP in Brazil increased 5.2% in 2004. Furlan believes that, in 2005, the economy will grow more than 4% influenced “by the recuperation of the internal market and increase in exports.”
During Furlan’s meeting with the businessmen, which took place in the morning, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was on a flight to Uruguay to participate in the ceremony of inauguration of the neighboring country’s President, Tabaré Váquez, called to congratulate the Minister on the export performance.
“Those who reach US$ 100 billion, may reach US$ 200 billion,” said the President, according to information from Furlan’s spokesman.
“Pass on to the entrepreneurs our disposition to continue working to increase the number of exporters, to create mechanisms to facilitate exports and warn them that, when I come back (from Uruguay), we will celebrate this number,” he added.
In a more realistic perspective, yet not less optimistic, Lula said he believes Brazilian exports may reach US$ 150 billion per year. He did not, however, establish a date to reach this objective.
Amongst the entrepreneurs present in the meeting with Furlan were the executive director of the Vale do Rio Doce, the Brazilian mining company, Fabio Barbosa, the president of Motorola of Brazil, Luiz Carlos Corneta, the vice president of institutional relations of the petrochemical company Braskem, Alexandrino de Alencar, the director of governmental affairs at Volkswagen Brazil, Elizabeth Carvalhaes, as well as representatives of Embraer, airplane manufacturer, and Sadia, of foods.