The three thousand businessmen to meet as from today, November 22, at the 24th National Foreign Trade Meeting (Enaex), in São Paulo, will have ahead of them the task of finding ways of maintaining the current level of Brazilian export in 2005, a year of probable deceleration of foreign trade expansion.
World Bank forecasts show that global trade should grow between 7% and 8% in 2005, under the 10.5% forecasted for this year.
The Chinese, the third largest world importers and exporters, increased their interest rates last month and the United States, the largest global market, should also continue increasing its interest rates in 2005.
“China is trying to reduce its growth level,” stated José Augusto de Castro, vice-president of the Brazilian Foreign Trade Association (AEB), organized by the Enaex, which will go on up to November 24 at the Transamérica Hotel Convention Center.
Apart from the brake that reduction of consumption in the United States and China may mean, the price of commodities should drop next year, possibly reducing agricultural export revenues.
“The United States had a super soy crop and Brazil and Argentina should also have large harvests,” according to Castro.
In one of its reports, the World Bank mentions the increase in international interest rates and the reduction in prices of oil and of commodities in general as one of the factors for the contraction of world trade.
The AEB believes that by the end of the year, Brazilian foreign trade revenues should have reached between US$ 95 billion and US$ 96 billion, a 30% expansion when compared to last year.
Forecasts for 2005, however, have not yet been closed. The Brazilian Central Bank, in turn, forecasts exports of US$ 94 billion up to the end of 2004.
The Brazilian Development, Industry and Foreign Trade minister, Luiz Fernando Furlan, has already stated his belief in exports of US$ 100 billion for Brazil in 2005, which would mean an increase of 6% over the value forecasted by the Central Bank for this year.
The percentage should be close to the expansion of world trade as a whole.
“When analyzing the international scenery, if next year we maintain the same export volume as we had this year, it will not be a bad result,” stated Castro.
According to him, this year Brazilian exports were aided by some foreign factors, among them meat market losses suffered by the United States, due to mad cow disease, and by the Asian countries, due to avian flu.
Various countries have already started accepting US cattle beef imports, thus increasing competition for Brazil.
Brazil, however, has just signed and agreement with China, for the export of US$ 200 million in beef. According to Castro, the country also has chances of increasing auto parts exports due to the construction of a car factory in China.
There is also an option of investing in new markets, like the Arab, so as to maintain export volumes.
“The Arab market may be explored as an alternative,” stated the vice-president of the AEB.
According to Castro, due to the war in Iraq, the Arab countries are privileging other suppliers, as options to the United States, a fact that may help Brazilian sales.
“Brazil supplies the same products as the United States does,” he said.
Apart from the international scenery, domestic bottlenecks to export development will also be discussed at the Enaex.
The meeting will be opened by Foreign Trade Minister Luiz Fernando Furlan, by São Paulo state Governor Geraldo Alckmin, and by AEB president Benedicto Fonseca Moreira at 03:00 pm.
During the three days of the event, businessmen and leaders connected to foreign trade will address how the country can overcome internal barriers and export more.
The debates start tomorrow, November 23, and the theme is “Reduction of Bureaucracy and Modernization of Exports”, and speakers will include Ivan Ramalho, Foreign Trade secretary, Armando Mariante Carvalho, president of the National Institute of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality (Inmetro), and Jorge ívila, vice-president of the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI).
The Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (CCAB) will have an institutional stand at the event. The organization’s secretary general, Michel Alaby, will give talk “How to Negotiate with the Arabs” tomorrow at 02:30 pm.
The seminar will also include the importance of export policies so as to reduce foreign vulnerability, modernization of the customs system, trade promotion and the importance of transport infrastructure to competitiveness.
Among the speakers will be the president of the Brazilian Export Promotion Agency (Apex), Juan Quirós, economist Clarice Messer, and the foreign trade director of the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo, Roberto Gianetti.
On Tuesday and Wednesday the panels will begin at 09:00 am. Enrolment for participation in the meeting has already been closed.
24th National Foreign Trade Meeting
Date: November 22 to 24
Location: Transamérica Hotel Convention Centre (SP)
Address: av das Nações Unidas, 18.591
Information: (+55 21) 2544 0048
ANBA ”“ Brazil-Arab News Agency