Argentina has potential to double or even triple country exports to the Arab countries. This was disclosed by the secretary general of the Argentine-Arab Chamber of Commerce (CCAA), Sattam Al Kaddour, who will be included in an official country delegation to the summit between Arab and South American countries.
The meeting is going to take place next week in Brazilian capital Brasília. According to Al Kaddour, Argentine businessmen will participate in the activities to take place in parallel to the summit with the objective of increasing trade in the Arab countries.
Argentina had revenues of US$ 2.1 billion with sales to the Arab world last year. This value represents a 32% increase over the US$ 1.6 billion revenues obtained in the previous year. According to figures supplied by the CCAA, 6.5% of country exports go to the Arab nations.
“We are doing well, but that is not enough,” stated the secretary general. “In the Arab world there is a great lack of water, a lot of desert, for example, and we have water, we have ores,” he said.
Al Kaddour believes that one of the routes to increase Argentinean sales to the Arab market would be the creation of joint ventures in sectors like food and ores. The objective would be joint production in South America for later sale to the Middle East and North Africa.
“The Arabs buy ores from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, and we have great volumes of ores here,” he recalled. So that the Arabs invest in South America, however, Al Kaddour believes that the governments must make agreements to protect their investment.
Among the products most exported by Argentina to the 22 countries in the League of Arab States are commodities like wheat, maize and soy, apart from pipes for oil pipelines. These products represent 69% of exports. The remaining 31% are products with greater added value. The Argentineans import, however, few products from the Arab countries.
Last year, the country purchased only US$ 59 million from that region of the world, and in the previous year, the total had been US$ 35 million. Imports have been dropping since 2000, when Argentina imported US$ 120 million in Arab products. Included in the list of purchases are oil derivatives, phosphates, components for fertilizers and Egyptian cotton.
According to the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Relations, apart from the CCAA, another six Argentine organizations will be represented in the Brazilian capital next week.
They are the Investment Development Agency, the Argentinean Libyan Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Production and Services, the Argentine-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Exporters from the Argentine Republic, the undersecretary for Foreign Relations of the Province of Buenos Aires, and the National Tourism secretary.
Among the participating companies are Bdesign Group, Cifa, Filon, Multilux and Sol Schams. They are from the sectors of food, agriculture, fishing, chemicals and electronic products.
Argentina will be responsible for one of the panels during the business forum, to take place in parallel to the summit, on May 9 and 11, at the Ulysses Guimarães Convention Center.
The president of the Argentine Union of Industry, Hector Mendez, is going to address the matter of “Trade Flows between South American and the Arab Countries: Opportunities, Logistics and Financing”, to begin at 11:15 am, on May 9.
ANBA – Brazil-Arab News Agency