Brazil and Mercosur Create Free Trade Zone with Arabs

Mercosur Member States will sign, during the Summit of South American-Arab Countries, an agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council, integrated by Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait.

According to the Director of the Department of Trade Promotion of the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations, Mário Vilalva, the idea is to establish a free trade zone between the two blocs.


Vilalva said that Gulf countries have excellent financial reserves and traditionally invest on infrastructure, energy, and tourism.


Vilalva affirmed that the meeting will be important for people networking and future business establishment.


“We don’t want a meeting solely to buy and sell, but to establish a network,” he said.


According to him, Brazilian government wants to expand business with Arab governments.


Last year, commercial exchange between Brazil and Arab countries amounted to US$ 8.2 billion, 50% higher than in 2003. According to the director, the intention is to increase this value to US$ 15 billion in two years.


A preparatory meeting for the Summit happened this Sunday, May 8, with South American and Arab High Officials. The Ministry of Foreign Relations’ Under Secretary General for Cooperation, Ruy Nogueira, said that one of the subjects presented was the Entrepreneurial Event, which begins today in Brasí­lia, the Brazilian capital.


The event will be opened by the Minister of Development, Industry, and Foreign Trade, Luiz Fernando Furlan, who will emphasize the importance of trading, and present results of the December 2003 presidential mission to Syria, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Libya.


Furlan will also have bilateral meetings with Arab countries’ Ministers of Commerce. A meeting with Furlan and the Minister of Economy and Trade of Syria, Amer Husni Lutfi, is already scheduled to discuss ways of increasing bilateral commercial exchange.


According to Nogueira, 29 of the 34 participating countries already confirmed they will have stands at the Convention Center, where the Entrepreneurial Event will happen.


“The idea is that during three days there will be information exchange and presentations aiming at creating a positive environment for business,” he affirmed.


The Entrepreneurial Event will discuss issues such as how to make business between South America and Arab Countries, investment promotion, and how tourism can become an element for bringing nations together.


The director of the Department of Trade Promotion of the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations, Mário Vilalva, said that 1,050 entrepreneurs are expected to participate on the event, 250 of which, Arabs, and 300, South Americans.


Agência Brasil

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