Sales from the state of Paraná, in the Brazilian South, to the Arab market once again rose above the average to other destinations. While exports to the Middle East and North Africa rose 52% in the first quarter of this year, over the same period last year, shipments from the state to other areas of the world rose 28%.
The calculations are based on figures by Brazil's Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade.
Between January and March 2008, exports from the state of Paraná totaled US$ 3.1 billion. Of this total, US$ 196.2 million were turned to the Arab market, or around 6% of the total.
"This shows that trade relations between Paraná and the region have great space for growth," stated Yasser Mohamed Hassan, from AraBras International Trading. In the first quarter of 2007, sales from the state to the Arabs totaled US$ 129.1 million.
"Exports not just from Paraná, but also from Brazil and from the world to the Arab market have been growing, among other reasons, due to the increase in income in the region," explained Reyadh Nassir Hanna.
A Brazilian of Iraqi origin, he established roots in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, where he is setting up a trading company turned to the sales of building materials.
According to him, the appreciation of oil irrigates the countries of the region, promoting greater income for and demand from their populations.
Apart from that, he points out, the Arab market has many niches to be explored: apart from building material, food, engines, vehicles, machinery and equipment, which opens several opportunities for the Brazilian industry.
Bilateral trade between Paraná and the Arab countries has also presented expressive growth. When comparing the first quarter of 2008 with the same period last year, the growth was 30.1%. Between January and March this year, the total of exports and imports from the state to North Africa and the Middle East totaled US$ 233.2 million, against US$ 179.3 million last year.
According to figures supplied by the Ministry, in the first three months of 2008, total imports into Paraná totaled US$ 2.74 billion, presenting growth of 55.68%. Despite the growth of imports, the state maintained a trade balance surplus, of US$ 352 million.
In the export basket of the state of Paraná in the period, the highlights were in grain, vehicles, meats, soy oil and sugar. Among the imported products, the most purchased items were crude oil, wheat, vehicles, accessories for vehicle bodies, fertilizer and gearboxes.
In the evaluation of the Industry, Trade and Mercosur Affairs secretary for the State of Paraná, Virgílio Moreira Filho, exports this quarter revealed greater balance between primary products, like grain, and higher value added products, like vehicles.
"In the case of imports," says Moreira Filho, "it is clear that productive sectors are investing and increasing production, especially the automotive, with the purchase of parts and accessories to supply the national demand."
Omar Nasser works for Fiep, the Federation of Industries of the State of Paraná.