Syrian Merchants Bewitched by Brazilian Shoes

Syrian businessmen who are participating in the International Shoes, Fashion Accessories, Machines and Components Fair (Francal), which is taking place in the southeastern Brazilian city of São Paulo, are interested in representing Brazilian shoemaker Azaléia in Syria.

They are the owners of companies Five Stars, Al Burak and Salha Group, all based in Damascus. “We are studying the possibility of being Azaléia distributors in Syria,” stated the executive director of Five Stars, Mohammad Kamsheh. The importers made their first contact with the producer from Rio Grande do Sul, in southern Brazil, yesterday, July 20.


Negotiations should be completed up to Friday, July 22), the last day of the Francal, which is the largest shoe sector fair in Brazil.


“I liked the Azaléia sandals very much,”  declared the director of Salha Group, Bachir Salha. Kamsheh added that he wanted the Brazilian producer to participate in a fair in Damascus, to present its shoes to the Syrian market.


Azaléia is one of the largest shoe producers in Brazil and is among the five largest in the world, with revenues of over US$ 420 million in 2004 and production of 36 million pairs of shoes a year.


With the economic opening that the Syrian government is currently promoting, businessmen are eyeing opportunities for greater import from Brazil.


“We can currently import any product from the Arab countries without paying taxes, but the government will soon open the doors to other countries too,” explained Kamsheh.


According to him, the objective of the visit by the Syrians to Brazil is market prospecting, to learn about the  products and check the prices.


“The first time that I saw Brazilian shoes in Lebanon, I liked them very much. From what I can see at the fair, the shoes are of excellent quality and design,” stated the owner of Rajab Shoes trading company, Mohamed Hassan.


The businessman imports female shoes from Turkey and exports to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon and Russia. “I now want to import from Brazil. Mainly classic shoes for parties, with stones and embroidered material,” he added.


Most of the Syrian businessmen are shoe producers, although they are also interested in importing shoes with different design. One example is the general director of the Al Burak group, Bachor Joumaa, who produces 5,000 pairs of flip-flops per day, and also imports from China.


He is now interested in purchasing from Brazil. “The prices of Brazilian shoes are higher than those of the Chinese, but the quality explains that,” he said.


Between the months of September last year and March this year, Joumaa imported 250,000 pairs of flip-flops for men, women and children from China. Al Burak has 60 employees and exports 80% of production.


Salha group, in turn, is only interested in Azaléia. The company produces 250,000 pairs of female  shoes per day and imports between 5,000 and 6,000 pairs of male shoes every two months from China and Turkey.


“I export 100% of the female shoes and now intend to start importing from Brazil. Brazilian shoes are good quality,” stated Bashir Salha. The company counts on 200 employees and exports to seven countries.


The Nahhas brothers, from company Fouad Nahhas, were very interested in Brazilian machinery for the production of shoes.


“I am interested in buying a complete machinery line at the fair,” stated manager Ammar Nahhas.


According to him, Fouad Nahhas produces 1,000 male shoes a day and exports 60% to the Arab countries. The company counts on five stores in the city of Aleppo, in Syria.


ABr – www.radiobras.gov.br

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