The National Confederation of Industries (CNI) is investing in services at its International Business centers installed at state federations of industries. The plan is to promote the internationalization of small companies.
The network of centers covers 25 of the 26 Brazilian states, as well as the Federal District, where the country capital is located. The only state that does not yet have a unit is the northern state of Tocantins.
Among the activities to be promoted by the centers is commercial promotion, which includes the participation of Brazilian companies in international events. In 2006, the network took 35 companies to Hannover Industrial Fair, in Germany. For 2007, participation is scheduled in fair Fruit Logistics, also in Germany.
The group is also planning to participate in an international business seminar in the northeastern Brazilian capital of Maceió, in Expo Food in Puerto Rico, in Expo Cruz in Bolivia, and again in the Fair in Hannover.
"It is also possible for new events to be included into the calendar, among them some in the United Arab Emirates," said the executive manager of the CNI foreign trade unit, José Frederico ílvares.
He pointed out that the objective of participation in the events is not selling products, but putting the companies in contact with foreign markets. "We use the events as prospecting missions," he said. "We select the companies and take them to specific sector events so they may show their products internationally, make contacts, learn about their competitors, about new technologies and about production processes. These are education missions," he added.
Apart from trade promotion, the centers also offer consultancy services and training for companies interested in doing foreign business, which includes commercial intelligence and support to sales. "Our commercial intelligence service is well prepared to guide companies about what kind of market is more adequate for the product offered," stated ílvares.
Starting in 2007, the network also intends to have a bank of projects by Brazilian companies that may be of interest to foreign investors and possible foreign partners. "The idea is to find on the foreign market partners for joint projects. We are going to identify Brazilian companies with this potential, to see what are their demands and to promote them abroad," stated ílvares.
Although the centers do not impose restrictions to the size of the companies, it is generally micro and small organizations that seek the services. "It is a natural selection process. Medium and large companies rarely seek these services," stated ílvares. Larger companies generally seek the foreign market at their own expense.
According to him, the centers have been in existence since 1998, but only now did they start acting as a national network. The first group action abroad was participation in Hannover Fair in 2006. "The network permits the exchange of experiences among companies all over the country," he said.
The network has not yet been in any event in the Arab world, but the state centers have already promoted actions in the region, as was the case with the Federation of Industries of the State of Santa Catarina (Fiesc), which organized a trade delegation in October and November in partnership with the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce. A group of construction sector businessmen from the southern Brazilian state travelled to Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.
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