About 1,200 Brazilian small and medium businessmen are attending in the southeastern Brazilian city of Curitiba, the 122nd Foreign Trade Meeting (Encomex), an event promoted for 10 years now by the Foreign Trade Secretariat at the Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade.
According to the Ministry representative, Fábio Martins Faria, the meeting aims to encourage the participation of Brazilian businessmen in foreign trade, especially the owners of small companies.
"It constitutes an opportunity for these businessmen to keep in touch with export organizations and banks." Faria said that, during the meeting, they will receive information on "how to obtain fundings, what are the technical requirements needed in order to export, customs procedures, everything an aspiring exporter needs to know."
According to him, small and medium businessmen account for the majority of the Brazilian exporter companies, but in terms of value, their participation is still small. "That is what we intend to do, to add value, to increase the number of exporter companies, and that is why we are supplying information."
The Ministry representative also stated that Brazil is a traditional exporter of agricultural and mineral commodities, but that the country is increasingly exporting industrialized products linked to its own culture, which enjoy wide acceptance in the foreign market.
The program of the Foreign Trade Meeting includes thematic workshops about markets such as craftwork, lectures, and three panels: Foreign Trade Policies and Actions, Instruments for Supporting and Fostering Foreign Trade, and Financing Mechanisms.
Established in 1997, the Encomex has already been held in 75 municipalities, with over 70,000 participants. In these ten years, Brazilian exports leaped up from US$ 52.994 billion, in 1997, to US$ 126.371 billion until the third week of October 2007.
According to forecasts by the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, by the end of this year, exports should reach US$ 155 billion.
During the same period, the number of exporter companies grew by approximately 54%, rising from 13,000 to more than 20,000 nationwide.
State of Paraná
The secretary of Industry, Trade and Mercosur Affairs in the southeastern Brazilian state of Paraná, Virgílio Moreira Filho, claimed that, in terms of overall figures, Paraná is experiencing an excellent phase with regard to the state's balance of trade, as it ranks among the country's leading exporter states.
To the secretary, the foreign trade meeting "brings foreign trade support techniques to the small entrepreneur, as well as seminars and sector meetings focussing on development."
From January until September this year, companies in the state of Paraná have exported the equivalent of US$ 9.04 billion and imported US$ 6.27 billion, which results in a trade balance surplus of US$ 2.765 billion.
Up until September, the main products exported were automobiles, soy and maize grain, soy oil, poultry meat, and sugar. The bulk of sales by the state of Paraná go to Argentina (9.43%), Germany (8.74%), the United States (7.71%) and Holland (6.18%).
Santa Catarina State
Meanwhile, exports from the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina to the Mercosur grew by 31.09% from January to September of this year over the same period of last year.
With sales of US$ 52.68 million, refrigerators and freezers are still the main item in the state's export basket to its three neighboring countries. In second came Kraftliner paper, with shipments of US$ 45.64 million from January until September, and an increase of 68.32% over the same period of last year.
Sales of products from Santa Catarina to Argentina stood at US$ 365.82 million, a 33.01% increase. Shipments to Argentina accounted for 71.6% of total exports to the regional bloc. Paraguay purchased US$ 74.03 million from companies in the state, and Uruguay, US$ 71.11 million.
Imports by Santa Catarina from Mercosur countries grew by 16% to reach US$ 662.19 million this year. The leading products imported by the state from its regional bloc neighbors were ethylene polymers (US$ 70.38 million), bottles and plastic items (US$ 68.58 million), wheat (US$ 67.78 million) and polyethylene (US$ 66.45 million).