Arabs Soon to Be Chief Importers of Brazil Beef. But US Is Still Closed.

Within the next two to three years the Arab countries will become the main market for Brazilian beef, surpassing the European Union as the first destination bloc.

This information was disclosed yesterday, July 11, by the executive director at the Brazilian Beef Industry and Exporters Association (Abiec), Antonio Jorge Camardelli.


“In the short term the Arab market will become the ‘number one’ in comparison to the other blocs,” he declared, during a press conference to release the sectors results for the first half.


According to him, a factor that has contributed a lot to increase shipments is the low level of fats in Brazilian beef, which pleases Arab consumers.


“Our cattle is fed on pasture and we have state of the art genetic technology, which is an advantage for us with the Arab importers. They buy a product that is 90% meat and 10% fat, which is the result of genetic improvement,” he stated.


Other specialists related to the sector also have an optimistic vision for the future of business with the Arabs.


“There is an excellent relationship. Brazilian companies have made business in a permanent way and see great potential for maintenance and expansion of the excellent relationship Brazil holds with the Arab countries,” said the Agriculture Policy secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Ivan Wedekin.


“The Arab market has enormous potential,” added the president of the National Union of Animal Feed Industry (Sindirações), Mário Sergio Cutait. Both of them participated yesterday at the Global Feed & Food, event promoted in São Paulo by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).


As well as meat with little fat, other factors that influence the increase in sales to the Arab countries, according to Camardelli, are trade promotion, with help from the Foreign Relations Ministry, and the companies’ participation in international trade fairs.


Currently Abiec has also been promoting workshops for importers abroad. The last one took place in Egypt, with a barbecue by the River Nile.


Marketing


“We considered the first phase of our work, which was to open markets, to have been completed. The aim now is to improve prices. We will now move on to a second phase, which is marketing,” said the Abiec president, Marcus Viní­cius Pratini de Moraes.


“The idea is to make Brazilian beef known throughout the world and promote its uses in cuisine. The strategy chosen was to hold barbecues, which is the Brazilian way of eating beef,” he added.


Similar events will take place in other countries, such as Bulgaria, France, Malaysia, Russia and Germany.


In Paris, the barbecue will be part of the events of the “Brazilian Year in France” and will gather about 8,000 guests at the Palais de L’Elysée, amongst them, presidents Jacques Chirac and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.


According to Pratini, for the first time Brazilian beef will be served at the French presidential palace. “And that has an important symbolism,” he said.


In Malaysia the aim will be to explore the halal product market more. “This is a market that we can work more,” said the marketing director at Abiec, Andréia Verí­ssimo.


The deference towards Egypt in the workshops and barbecue calendars is due to the fact the country is today the second greatest destination of fresh Brazilian beef, losing only to Russia.


During the first six months of the year, Egypt imported the equivalent to US$ 120 million, compared to US$ 96 million during the same period last year.


In June alone, Egyptian purchases added up to US$ 26 million, or 106.5% more than in the same month in 2004. In the accumulated value for the last 12 months, the value reached US$ 185.8 million, or almost 30% more than in the previous period.


In the list of the main buyers for the semester are also Algeria, in 7th place, with purchases of US$ 47 million, an increase in 538.6% in relation to the US$ 7.3 million registered in the first half of 2004.


In June, the country ranked in the 5th position, with imports adding up to 16.3 million, or 501.7% more than in the same month in 2004. During the last 12 months Algeria bought the equivalent to US$ 101 million, value 397% superior to what was registered in the previous period.


Saudi Arabia is also in the list with imports of US$ 21.2 million during the semester. There was, however, a 32% drop in comparison to the first six months last year, when shipments yielded 27.4 million.


In June, Saudi imports stayed at US$ 4.2 million, 26% less than in the same month in 2004. During the last 12 months, shipments to the Arab country yielded US$ 62.8 million, a reduction in 14% in comparison to the previous period.


Total


In total, Brazil exported the equivalent to US$ 1.46 billion in bovine beef in the first half of the year, an increase in 30% in comparison to the same period last year.


Camardelli believes the performance should maintain the same level until the end of the year, with an increase in about 30% over the US$ 2.52 billion exported in 2004.


Both him and Pratini, however, highlight the need for access to important markets, such as Korea, Japan and the United States, which impose on Brazil sanitation barriers.


Brazil is in first place in export volume, has the largest commercial herd in the world, more than 80 million hectares of land available, excellent producing capacity and state of the art genetics.


But we have no access to 60% of the world market,” said Camardelli. “Our objective is not to flood the markets, but to have access and the possibility of competing,” added Pratini.


Exports Hike


Exports of Brazilian beef in natura rose 40.02% in volume and 41.48% in revenue in the month of June, compared to May. The totals were: 169,288 tons worth US$ 258.4 million.


For the year, beef in natura exports have now risen 31.77% in volume, and 33.02% in revenue. Over the last twelve months exports have risen over 45%, compared to the prior twelve month period.


Anba – www.anba.com.br

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