300 Foreign Firms in Brazil’s Amazon Looking for Business

Presidents Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, from Brazil, and Hugo Chávez, from
Venezuela participate today in the opening of the 2nd Amazon International Fair
(Fiam 2004), to take place in the city of Manaus, capital of the northern
Brazilian state of Amazonas, to discuss the regions economic potential.

by Tomas Chiaverini


The objective is to promote relations between companies from the Industrial Pole of Manaus (PIM) and worldwide markets. But the event organizers have special interest in the Arab countries.


“We consider the Arab world our most promising market,” stated Flávia Skrobot Grosso, the superintendent of the Manaus Free Zone Superintendency (Suframa).


To her, there is a large possibility of closer relations between both markets, as Brazil is a country where peoples of the most varied cultures and ethnic groups live in harmony.


At the Fair, promoted by the Ministry of Development, Industry, and Foreign Trade, the Arabs will be represented by three institutions: company Dubai Internet City, from the United Arab Emirates, Ababou Eletronics, from Algeria, and by the president of the Entrepreneur and Industrialist Club of Mitidja, also in Algeria, Abel Kader Taieb.


Initially, representatives from the three institutions will be in Manaus to get to know Brazil and the Amazon, but the possibility of trade agreements is great. Finding new business opportunities and getting to know the potential of the region better are also objectives of the other guests, who together with the Arabs total 300 foreign organizations.


So as to fulfil these expectations, the 245 exhibitors, from Brazil and from nine countries in the Pan-Amazon, are going to exhibit from product of the advanced technology to local handcraft.


The stands will also include sectors like handcraft, technology, components, education and research, agribusiness, bio-industry, and tourism.


“Organization of the fair comes at a favourable moment for the Industrial Pole of Manaus, after a first half in which the Amazon economy helped generate Brazilian growth, with over 20% increase in the state GDP, and the industrial pole had an increase of 32% in revenues,” stated the Brazilian Minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Luiz Fernando Furlan, through a spokesperson.


Integration and insertion


Most of the debates and seminars at the event will be turned to integration of the various Amazon regions, and, especially, to greater integration of the Industrial Pole of Manaus with the foreign market.


“With the projects for physical integration of the Amazon, promoted by president Lula, including the construction of bridges and highways, we are going to have an increase in bilateral trade with the countries (neighbours) present at the fair,” added minister Furlan, who is going to participate in the event.


There should also be a meeting of ministers of Foreign Relations of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (OTCA), which began yesterday (14). The OTCA has eight member countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guiana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela, and was formed 25 years ago.


Winning the foreign market is the current challenge of the PIM, created to reduce country import, almost entirely prohibited in the country during the 1960’s and at the beginning of the 1990’s.


“When the market was opened in the 1990’s we lost monopoly of the Brazilian market and had to compete with products from all around the world,” stated the Suframa superintendent.


Therefore, the over 430 companies installed in the pole, which has average revenues of U$ 10 billion, are more and more worried with production using their own technology.


Another topic to be included in discussions is the environment. According to Flávia Grosso, the main worry with environmental preservation was already present at the time of creation of the PIM, and it should grow.


According to her, investment in technology is fundamental for preservation of the Amazon, as the local population finds jobs and income in the city, without the need for extracting products from the forest to survive.


Expectation


If the organizer forecasts come true, the 2nd Fiam should surpass the first edition in numbers. A total of 300 foreign visitors are expected, against the 253 last year; there will be 245 exhibitors against the 194 of last year; a total of 15 seminars will be promoted, against seven in the previous edition, and the participants in the seminars should exceed 1,957, rising to 2,500.


According to information supplied by the Suframa, the first edition received a total of 160,000 visitors and deals closed totalled US$ 1.6 million in contracts during fair business roundtables.


This year, the event is going to count on the presence of Aruban prime minister Nelson Orlando Oduber, among other authorities.


ANBA ”“ Brazil-Arab News Agency

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