Brazil’s Minister of Development, Industry, and Foreign Trade, Luiz Fernando Furlan, reiterated that exports will continue to be the strong point of the Brazilian economy and that the decline in the exchange rate of the dollar, which is quoted at R$ 2.75, does not jeopardize the goal of surpassing US$ 100 billion in foreign sales.
Prior to addressing Scandanavian investors at a gathering in the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo, on March 14, the Minister commented that this month the country should attain US$ 101 billion in overall exports in the past 12 months.
Furlan acknowledged that some sectors, such as footwear and automobiles, are being hurt by the depreciation of the dollar. He expects the exchange rate to rise and prospects to become “quite attractive” for exporters in the second half of the year.
To justify his optimism, the Minister explained that the government has taken steps, such as simplifying the bureaucracy involved in export operations, to relieve the burdens on exports.
In his evaluation, there has been an improvement in the commodities sector.
“At the beginning of the year, we imagined that soybean prices would be down considerably, but there has already been an advance of nearly 25% on the Chicago Exchange, and this has had an influence on the trade balance,” he remarked.
Addressing the Scandanavian investors, Furlan claimed that Brazil has made room for foreign investments in the country, and he estimated that this year it will be possible to attract something on the order of US$ 20 billion.
In a reference to periods of economic crisis, he affirmed that “we were closer to hell some years ago, and [now] we are on the road to heaven.”
He said that there have been increasing attempts to demystify the image of Brazil as merely the land of samba, coffee, and soccer.
Besides President Lula’s trips abroad, Furlan observed that the government has sought to publicize the country’s business possibilities.
In 2005, the Minister said, the Apex – Brazilian Export Promotion Agency – sponsored 550 events for this purpose.
Translation: David Silberstein