The Arab Ambassadors Council will be arriving in the capital of Minas Gerais, a state in southeastern Brazil, today, June 15, to learn a little more about the economic potential of the state.
The delegation, to be headed by the Palestinian ambassador and Dean of the Council, Musa Odeh, is going to participate in meetings with local authorities and businessmen – especially exporters – and visit companies installed in the region.
“This meeting is part of the work that the council of ambassadors has been doing in different states in the country, to present and identify business opportunities between the Brazilians and the Arabs,” explained Antonio Sarkis Jr., president of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (CCAB).
“In October last year, the council of ambassadors visited Rio Grande do Sul, in southern Brazil, and in May this year they visited Piauí, in the north of the country.
The purpose is to intensify trade between both blocs,” recalled Sarkis. According to him, these meetings, which began in 2004, should occur with certain frequency throughout this year.
Included in the Minas Gerais committee are, apart from the Palestinian diplomat, ambassadors and representatives from Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Kuwait, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
This afternoon, the group of Arab ambassadors will have meetings with governor Aécio Neves, with the mayor of Belo Horizonte, Fernando Pimentel and with the president of the Legislative Assembly, Mauri Torres.
The meeting between the Arab diplomats and businessmen from Minas will take place tomorrow, June 16. Among the talkers are Robson Braga de Andrade, the president of the Federation of Industries of the State of Minas Gerais (Fiemg), Musa Odeh, Wilson Brumer, the secretary of Economic Development of the government of the state of Minas Gerais, and Antonio Sarkis Jr.
The president of the CCAB will present the figures of trade between Brazil and the Arab countries and also between the state of Minas Gerais and the countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
In 2004, Brazil exported to the League of Arab States a total of US$ 4.034 billion and imported US$ 4.158 billion. The state of Minas Gerais exported US$ 336.3 million to the League last year, and imported US$ 19.6 million.
The main products in the trade basket from Minas Gerais to the Arabs are powdered milk, cars, sugar, coffee, biscuits, chocolate, clothes, jewellery and diamonds. With regard to imports, the highlight was raw material for fertilizers, electric material and cotton.
The meeting will be closed after the ambassadors visit the Magnesita mining company and Delp Engenharia Mecânica, a maker of mining and ironworks equipment.
The state of Minas Gerais is located in the southeast of Brazil, alongside São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo. The state has an estimated population of 18 million inhabitants and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of around US$ 50 billion.
The great economic potential of the state may be shown by the fact that it occupies a position of leadership in many important products for the domestic and international economy.
The state is the largest world producer of niobium – an element used in the production of some kinds of stainless steel.
It is in the first place in the national rank of producers of iron ore, steel, zinc, cement, milk, coffee, potatoes and pineapple.
The state also has the largest biotechnology hub in the country and has the largest horse herd among the Brazilian states.
In April, the growth of industrial production of the state of Minas Gerais exceeded the country average. It grew 9.6% when compared to last year, against 6.3% for the whole country.
According to figures supplied by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), positive rates were also identified in the results for this year and for the last 12 months, respectively 7.6% and 7.3%.
By sector, the result was the following: the mining industry of Minas grew 21.2%, pushed, mostly, by the increase in the production of iron ore, the main positive contribution to the global rate.
The transformation industry grew 7.8%, with eight of the twelve activities investigated presenting an increase in production.
The highlight was the car industry (19.6%) due to the growth in the demand for cars.
The food sector also grew. The total was 11.9%, due, in great part, to the increase in milk production. In turn, non-metallic ores grew 21.9%, mainly due to cement.
ANBA – Brazil-Arab News Agency – www.anba.com.br