Lula’s Cabinet May Change But Not Brazil’s Commitment to South-South Business

Approximation with other emerging countries will remain among the foreign trade policy priorities during Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s second term in office, which will begin on January 1st.

"This is a government policy, and it shall continue no matter who the president’s collaborators are," said the Brazilian Minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Luiz Fernando Furlan. Lula has not yet announced his cabinet for the next four years.

Yesterday, November 30, on the first day of the 26th National Foreign Trade Meeting (Enaex), in Rio de Janeiro, Furlan said that the search for new markets was an important factor for the growth in Brazilian foreign trade in recent years. These new markets include the Arab countries.

The president of the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex), Juan Quirós, told ANBA that Middle Eastern and Northern African countries should continue to receive special attention.

"We will keep up our work in Arab countries, to which exports only grew over the last four years. They will receive the highest priority," he claimed. Apex develops a series of joint actions together with the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce.

In the upcoming years, Apex, which is attached to the ministry of Development, intends to intensify its work for strengthening the image of Brazil among foreign consumers, widening the use of its distribution centers abroad by promoting events for buyers in these locations, and to work directly with department stores and supermarkets in order to consolidate its distribution channels. "Whoever gets there first wins," said Quirós.

Proposals

During the first day of the event, representatives of the public and private sectors discussed proposals for issues such as the reduction of bureaucracy in foreign trade, investments, service exports, logistics and transportation.

With regard to services, for instance, the Brazilian Minister of Cities, Márcio Fortes, claimed that the sector has a turnover of approximately US$ 3.5 trillion worldwide.

The director of construction company Andrade Gutierrez, Luiz Cláudio Martins Jordão, added that in Latin America alone, US$ 40 billion per year are invested on infrastructure works, which call for engineering services, and US$ 10 billion are spent on hiring foreign companies. But Brazilian companies hold only 5% of this market.

"The entire Brazilian foreign trade infrastructure was developed for exports of goods," said Jordão. But, according to him and other participants in the debate, service exports pave the way for exports of products, as well as of other services.

"In our case, service exports create an opportunity for our partners to work abroad, because a construction work demands trucks, tractors, steel etc," he claimed.

According to the president of the Brazilian Foreign Trade Association (AEB), Benedicto Fonseca Moreira, Brazil must "learn to export everything." The creation of a specific set of laws to regulate foreign trade is one of AEB’s requests to the government. The AEB organizes the Enaex.

In the debate about logistics, apart from the request for public investment in transport, participants pointed out the importance of multi-modality, i.e., the freight of cargoes that use more than one means of transport, but under just one contract managed by just one operator.

In the sidelines of the panels, companies and organizations that sponsored the event installed institutional stands at Hotel Glória. The Arab Brazilian Chamber is one of them. Various representatives of government organizations and businessmen visited the space in the first day of the event.

They were after information about the organization’s services, like the list of importers, the trade delegations organized and the fairs the organization participates in, as well as other figures about the Arab countries.

Businessmen interested in exporting products like granite, fashion artefacts, cosmetics, shoes, food, beverages and construction material also showed up.

Anba – www.anba.com.br

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