The prime minister of Libya, El-Baghdadi Ali El-Mahmoudi, will pay a visit to Brazil late this month. According to information provided by the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations, El-Mahmoudi will arrive in the Brazilian capital BrasÀlia on May 30th and meet leading government officials.
According to the press office at the Itamaraty, who will host the prime minister has not yet been defined. El-Mahmoudi's trip, still according to Itamaraty, will have commercial purposes, focusing on economic partnerships. Besides the federal capital, the Libyan leader should also visit other Brazilian cities.
Brazil already does business with the Arab country. Petrobras, the Brazilian state-owned petroleum company, has been operating in oil exploration and production in Libya since 2005. The Brazilian government also expressed, last month, its willingness to buy natural gas from Libya.
Brazil plans to build regasification plants, so it can buy the commodity from more distant regions, such as the Arab country, and thus replace imports from Bolivia.
Petrobras made a point of sending representatives to Libya and Algeria, in order to assess possibilities for importing. The gas would be transported in its liquid form, and then converted to the gaseous form in Brazil.Â
El-Mahmoudi has been the prime minister of Libya since March last year. During the three previous years, he was vice-prime minister in the country, and before that, he was the Libyan minister of Health.
Libyan trade with Brazil is on the rise. In the first three months this year, Brazilian exports to Libya saw a 71% increase. They went up from US$ 38.5 million, in the first quarter of 2006, to US$ 65.8 million in the same period this year. The increase was mainly due to the sale of an Embraer aircraft.
The aircraft accounted for US$ 27 million of total exports, followed by iron ore, with US$ 15.3 million, sugar, with US$ 12 million, and meats, with US$ 6.9 million. During the same period last year, iron ore was the first item in the export basket.
Libyan exports to Brazil have increased as well. The Arab country had revenues of US$ 266.9 million from exports to Brazil in the first three months of this year, compared with US$ 16 million during the same period in 2006.
The increase was led by crude oil, which accounted for US$ 252 million of total exports. In the first quarter of 2006, Brazil did not purchase oil from Libya, only naphtha for the petrochemical industry, and diesel, commodities that also appear in the export basket this year.
Oil answers to 95% of the country's exports and to one quarter of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The main commodities produced by Libyan industries also include iron, steel, processed foods, textiles, and cement. The country has a population of approximately six million people, which grows 2% per year.
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