Ministers of Arab and South American countries approved this Wednesday, May 23, in Rabat, the Moroccan capital, an action plan for joint activities in the economic area. The program, idealized at the beginning of the year during a meeting of diplomats in Cairo, envisions, among other measures, the promotion of a bi-regional meeting, the organization of seminars about mining, energy, capital and financial markets and tourism.
The approval of the document wasn't expected before today, but talks advanced fast and it was ratified yesterday. The program also plans that diplomats of both regions should, where possible, coordinate positions in the scope of international organizations like the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
The document also forecasts foreign trade training of Arab technicians at the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, negotiations for the simplification of the concession of visas for businessmen, joint actions in the area of culture and tourism and the strengthening of maritime and aerial routes between both regions. The plan gives as examples the direct Emirates Airline flight between Dubai and São Paulo, to be inaugurated in October.
The program also mentions the organization of road-shows promoting investment opportunities in the areas of energy and mining, the negotiation of agreements for protection of investment and to avoid dual tax as well as economic studies aimed at expanding reciprocal knowledge about trade, investment and cooperation.
"The meeting was good and perspectives about relations with the Arab countries are also very good," said by phone the minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Miguel Jorge, who represented Brazil in the meeting. "We must proceed and intensify these meetings," he added.
Apart from him, the minister of Economic and General Affairs of Morocco, Rachid Talbi El Alami, who presided the meeting, the minister of Finance of Saudi Arabia, Ibrahim Al-Assaf, the minister of International Cooperation of Sudan, Tijani Saleh Foudail, the minister of Finance, Economy and Foreign Trade of Qatar, Youssuf Hussein Kamal, the Finance minister of Bolivia, Luis Alberto Arce Catacora, deputy ministers in the economic area of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Argentina, as well as representatives of the governments of almost all Arab and South American countries participated in the meeting.
In his presentation, Jorge spoke about the current situation of the Brazilian economy, about inflation under control, the reduction of the country risk rating, the increase in investment and of exports and added that the country should soon be granted "investment grade" by international rating agencies. "After the meeting many ministers came to talk to me about these figures," he said.
According to the coordinator for Summit of South American – Arab Countries affairs at the Itamaraty, í‚nuar Nahes, who is also in Rabat, various participants showed enthusiasm regarding the fact that Jorge is of Lebanese descent.
"He also spoke about Brazilian ethanol, about the possibility of its use as an energy complement now and in the future," said the Brazilian ambassador to Rabat, Carlos Alberto Simas Magalhães.
According to information published on Moroccan news agency Maghreb Arabe Presse (MAP), minister Rachid El Alami pointed out that the acceleration of the sustainable development process of both regions requires greater trade relations and the simplification of the flow of capital.
Speaking in the name of the prime minister of his country, Driss Jettou, Alami pointed out that the countries of both regions should eliminate protectionist barriers and follow economic liberalization.
The Saudi minister, according to MAP, pointed out the fundamental part played by the private sector in making cooperation between the Arab and South American countries more dynamic in the economic area. He defended the approval of agreements for protection of investment and to avoid dual taxing, as well as the expansion of cooperation between trade banks, to promote trade and investment.
On Tuesday, before the meeting of ministers, there was a seminar about trade and investment. At the meeting, the former president and current administrative vice-president at the Arab Brazilian Chamber, Paulo Sérgio Atallah, stated that despite the growth registered in recent years, there is still much space for expansion of trade between Brazil and the Arab world.
Anba – www.anba.com.br