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Red Tape Prevents Brazil from Becoming Global Industrial Giant

Apex president, Alessandro Teixeira Apex Brazil, the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency, intends to define before the end of the year the 15 foreign markets where Brazil wants to promote its own industry and products. The country works now with 33 so-called target markets, which according to the Apex president, Alessandro Teixeira, is the same as not having any target at all.

Among these 15 countries, says Teixeira, will be the United States, China, Germany, Russia, Argentina, Egypt and Dubai, one of the United Arab emirates.

"Dubai is a trader market. As it is a trade center it is a market where all buyers want to go," said the Apex chief, on the first day of the 27th National Foreign Trade Meeting (Enaex), which ended Friday, November 23, at Hotel Glória, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

According to Teixeira, the emirate is one of the priority markets for the new strategic planning at the agency.

"Up to the end of the year we are going to complete a study showing the 15 markets the Apex is going to work heavily," he advanced. Egypt is in the list of countries under analysis. "Egypt is being studied due to the high consumer levels. It is a great consumer market in North Africa," he added.

According to him, early this year Apex-Brasil defined five areas for study in regional markets: Africa and the Middle East, Asia and Oceania, North America, Latin America and the Caribbean and Europe.

"We made a list of 140 countries and analyzed growth of income, GDP and level of employment. We also studied all the bilateral trade agreements the countries have," he explained. Apart from the Arab countries, other nations being analyzed include Russia, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela and Bolivia.

The executive secretary at the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Ivan Ramalho, also participated in the meeting, whose theme this year is "Political evaluation of Brazilian foreign trade: an export policy in the current international conjecture".

Ramalho said that he is optimistic regarding the increase in Brazilian exports to the Arab market. "This year we posted growth of 22% in exports to the Arab nations. This is very reasonable growth and above the global average," he stated.

"The agreement between the Mercosur and the countries of the Gulf is still being negotiated, with no specific date for ratification, but it should certainly help expand this growth," he pointed out.

In his address at the opening of the event, the president at the Brazilian Foreign Trade Association (AEB), Benedicto Fonseca Moreira, said that Brazil needs to evaluate its foreign trade policy. "This evaluation could generate a more consistent Foreign Trade Law, a modern and pro-active one, and not just topic and relative measures, as is the case now," he said.

According to him, agribusiness products, for example, which make up over 40% of Brazil's exports, are equivalent to just 4.5% of global agribusiness sales. "Brazil will certainly be the largest world producer of agricultural commodities and, maybe, of some ores, which is great, but not enough," he warned.

According to Moreira, in the distribution of global exports, agriculture has about 9% participation. Industrial products of medium and high technology, contribute with around 70% of global trade.

"The project for expansion of Brazilian industrialization, mainly in the direction of products with greater technological content, which dominate global exports, becomes impossible due to bureaucracy, taxes and export difficulties," pointed out Moreira.

Ivan Ramalho, in turn, pointed out the importance of the Enaex contribution to federal government decision making. "The event, in its almost 30 years of existence, has always made a fundamental contribution to some measures, like the establishment of the Trade and Service Secretariat about a year and a half ago," he said.

"The government is aware and is providing the necessary modifications to benefit the sector. We must continue working to simplify and reduce bureaucracy in the foreign trade system, to diversify products and destinations," he said.

According to Ramalho, Brazil is currently among the 30 main global exporters and the United States is still the main destination for the country's exports, which should exceed US$ 157 billion by the end of 2007.

"But the United States buys just 20% of our exports. This means that 80% of our sales are distributed to hundreds of markets," he pointed out.

The Foreign Trade Secretary, Welber Barral, recalled that in 2008 Brazil is going to celebrate 200 years of the opening of ports to Friendly Nations and that Brazilian exports are expected to reach US$ 172 billion next year, an increase of 10% over 2007.

Anba – www.anba.com.br

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