The majority of representatives of Brazilian companies participating in a mission to North Africa, organized by the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce and by the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex), believes in the possibility of closing deals in Morocco.
This Wednesday, May 29, they participated all day long in business roundtables with local businessmen, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, in Casablanca.
"We made 18 contacts, 11 of which were quite fruitful," said Daniel Schnorr, of Link Worldwide, which represents several factories of components for the shoe industry. The products most sought after, according to him, were leather, recycled leather, chemicals for tanning and finishing, cardboard for inner shoe soles, and synthetic textiles. "I believe that we are going to receive orders amounting to US$ 100,000 for a year," he claimed.
Ivini Granado, of the Predilecta Alimentos company, received 20 people interested in the food products that the company produces, such as guava sweet, tomato products, and jellies. "We are going to strike some deal, it is only a matter of time," she said.
According to Granado, the majority of the Moroccans with whom she talked are interested in becoming distributors for the brand, but she has not yet closed a deal to that extent. She believes that she will soon send one or two containers of merchandise to one of those contacts in order to test the market.
Márcio Lário, of Nitriflex, a manufacturer of synthetic rubber, who met 15 Moroccan businessmen, believes that at least one of them should place orders ranging from US$ 20,000 to US$ 30,000. The most demanded product was a styrene resin, used in the production of shoe soles.
Starret, a manufacturer of tools, represented by Sérgio Luis Teizen, made eight contacts. "One of them was quite worthwhile, it will yield results. The businessman who contacted us knows our brand, he knows the market. I am going to visit his company early tomorrow (today)," he said. Teizen estimates that an initial order of US$ 20,000 might be placed.
Edmilson Marcondes dos Santos, of Usmatic, a maker of irrigation equipment, believes that he is close to attaining his goal, which is finding a partner to establish an assembly line in North Africa. "Several candidates have appeared, and tomorrow (today) I am going to visit a local factory. We can operate in the entire African market," he claimed.
Braseco, a trading company represented by Damaris ívila da Costa, has made 20 contacts. "Most of them knew what they wanted, and they came seeking business," she said. According to her, there is demand for agricultural machinery, foodstuffs, and construction material.
Igor Kaufeld, of WK, which sells construction material, highlighted two contacts that might lead to business. "They want lots of material and they appreciated our products," he said. The most sought after products, according to him, were marble for floors and wood panels.
Latinex, which sells food products, established 15 contacts. "These are contacts to be worked on," said Eduardo Moraes, a representative for the company. The largest demands, according to him, were for fruit juices and canned foods. Moraes said, nevertheless, that there is much competition in the Moroccan markets, mostly of local products and of products imported from Spain. He also received a visit of a representative at Unimer, a large Moroccan company that operates in the fishery industry.
Paulo Roberto Cavalcante, from PMAN, which makes inputs for bakeries, attended a meeting with a Brazilian who lives in Morocco, and who is interested in representing the brand. As a member of the board at Perflex, a maker of bathroom metals, he was also contacted by importers who were interested in buying taps.
Andréa de Freitas Melo, of the Movexport consortium, was contacted by a businessman who is establishing a hotel and who is seeking suppliers of furniture, in addition to another who owns four showrooms and is one of Morocco's largest distributors. Melo said that both are seeking high-end furniture.
"The vast majority of businessmen believe in the possibility of closing deals. They realize that the potential here is high, but they also know that they need to keep working, to go back to Brazil, to have partners, and to attend other events," said the marketing vice president at the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, Rubens Hannun, who is leading the mission. "They made lots of contacts, which in itself is good in order to get to know the local market. This adds to the information that they already had," he concluded.
One of the complaints of businessmen regarding the local market concerned tax rates, which may be as high as 70% for some products. Many of them said that the Mercosur must carry on as soon as possible with the negotiations for a fixed tariff preferences treaty with Morocco, a process that is already underway. The Moroccans have an agreement of this kind with the European Union, which makes European commodities competitive in the country.
Also yesterday, Rubens Hannun visited the Office des Foires et Expositions de Casablanca (Ofec), an organization that promotes business fairs in the city, which is the country's major economic hub. He was received by the director-general at the organization, Abdel-Ilah Mounib.
The goal was to see what type of fairs held at the site might be of interest to Brazilian companies in the future. There are events for the general public and sector-driven fairs, geared at medical and dental equipment, foodstuffs, agricultural products and machinery, and others.
Mounib suggested that eventually a fair be held turned exclusively to Brazil, which, besides the showcasing of products, would also feature cultural performances and cuisine. "Thus, with that cultural background, people might see Brazil in a more real way, with cheerfulness, culture, music etc. And the companies would benefit from that," said Mounib.
According to the director at Ofec, the institution owns a covered area of 20,000 square meters, and another 20,000 square meters of open space. The annual revenue of the organization is approximately 20 million Moroccan dirhams (US$ 2.4 billion), and the volume of deals closed during the events may reach as much as four times that amount, he said.
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