Increasing and balancing bilateral trade between the Arabs and the state of Minas Gerais is the intention of the Council of Arab Ambassadors in Brazil.
The council visited the capital of the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais last week. Last year, the state of Minas exported US$ 336.3 million to the League of Arab States and imported just US$ 19.6 million.
Arab diplomats participated June 16 in a business seminar organized by the Federation of Industries of the State of Minas Gerais (Fiemg), where they presented two infrastructure projects that may generate partnerships between businessmen from Minas Gerais.
One of them is the construction of five large bridges in Sudan, which may generate contracts from civil construction companies.
The other project is an opportunity to establish a joint venture with Libya, which is interested in the construction of an ironworks in the Arab country.
“Our interests were presented and we are now going to await contact from the companies interested in the partnership,” stated the Libyan ambassador, Mohamed Heimeda Matri.
“If Brazil really wants to negotiate with the Arab countries, the country needs to start investing there and importing products from the region,” stated Tunisian ambassador Hassine Bouzid.
The ambassador recalled that the Arab country, located in the north of Africa, has free trade agreements with the European Union (EU) and suggested that Brazil export technology and invest in Tunisia, thus making its products enter the European market free of the fees charged when the product leaves Brazil.
Lack of Information
The ambassador of Kuwait, Hamood Al Roudhan, stated that lack of information is the largest problem to the expansion of business between Brazil and the Arabs.
“There is an incorrect idea that the Arab countries only have petroleum to export. We make various petrochemical derivatives and can also help Brazil to explore oil, offering the best technology in the world in this sector,” he pointed out.
The ambassador of Sudan, Rahamtalla Mohamed Osman, asked for relations between both blocs to be direct.
“Many Brazilian products reach Sudan through other countries in the Arabian Gulf and Europe. We produce 80% of the gum Arabic (used mainly in the production of drinks) consumed worldwide and Brazil is a great importer of this product,” exemplified the ambassador.
“With the reduction of intermediaries, we may, for example, buy coffee directly from producers in Minas Gerais, instead of from France,” added the Palestinian ambassador and Dean of the Council, Musa Amer Odeh.
“There is currently a market that is globally open. But I can state that Brazil has a peculiar place in the heart of the Arabs. For this reason, if there are more Brazilian products on the Arab shelves, they will be preferred,” guaranteed the Palestinian ambassador.
In the evaluation of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (CCAB) president, Antonio Sarkis Jr., this equilibrium of the trade balance between Brazil and the Arabs is possible and the organization will continue doing all that is possible to reach this objective.
“We are going to continue promoting this approach and the exchange of information so as to be able to offer more Arab products to the Brazilians and Brazilian products to the Arabs,” guaranteed Sarkis.
The secretary general of the CCAB, Michel Alaby, pointed out that it is necessary to be conscious of how much trade between Arabs and Brazilians is a relation of exchange.
“It is really more than just trade. It is therefore necessary to seek true partnerships in both blocs,” pointed out Alaby.
He believes that the investment in companies in the Arab countries, which have free trade agreements, may be an opportunity to export more to other markets, including to other Arab countries.
Visits to Companies
The visit of the delegation of Arab diplomats to the state of Minas Gerais ended with a technical visit to three companies based in the city of Contagem, in the Metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte.
The ambassadors visited the installations of the Magnesita group, of Delp Engenharia Mecânica and of Orteng. They were impressed with the production quality and technology of the companies from Minas.
Orteng, a producer of solutions for energy and automation systems, is after technological partnerships for the supply of equipment necessary for the production of high-tension transformers.
“We are considering the possibility of transferring technology or establishing a joint venture,” stated the superintendent of the business area, Luiz Carlos dos Santos Amâncio.
The Magnesita group, a maker of refractory products and mining company, has been exporting to the Arab market for 10 years and is interested in expanding trade with the region.
“We have great sympathy and affinity with the Arabs. As we are also importers of some industrial equipment like presses, we may analyze the possibility of new business with the partners from that region,” guaranteed José Tarcísio Guimarães Guerra, one of the directors of Magnesita.
Delp, a producer of mining and ironworks equipment, does not yet export to the Arab market, but as it is responsible for the production of platforms for Brazilian oil giant Petrobras, the company believes there may be some interest by the Arabs in technology for exploration of underwater oil.
“We are mainly interested in local representatives that know about the matter, as the sale is very technical,” stated the director and superintendent of Delp, Ary Fialho Júnior.
According to the ambassadors, as the visits were very fast, new contacts will be made with the companies from Minas within the next few weeks.
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