How Brazil Is Winning the Middle East Through the Stomach

Eggs from Brazil The complementarities between the economies of Brazil and of the Arab countries are becoming more and more evident, in the opinion of Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce president Antonio Sarkis Jr.

"Trade is already consolidated, and the Arabs must mainly import in the agricultural area, whereas Brazil has a natural talent to become one of the world leaders in this sector," he said during a press conference, July 8, in São Paulo, in southeastern Brazil.

He pointed out that Brazil already has important participation in the Arab food market, and the country has great need for fertilizers produced in the Middle East and North Africa.

Just to give an idea, Brazilian exports of foods to the region generated US$ 2.4 billion in the first half of this year, an increase of 21.41% over the same period last year.

Sarkis pointed out items like dairy products, whose exports grew 92% and reached US$ 48 million, eggs, whose shipments generated US$ 17.9 million, expansion of almost 2,000% and meats, whose sales totaled US$ 1.4 billion, 47% more than in the period from January to June 2007.

On the other lane, Fertilizers were the second item in the Brazilian import basket from the Arab nations in the first six months of this year, with purchases totaling US$ 359 million, growth of 220% over the first quarter in 2007. According to the Arab Brazilian Chamber, the Arabs import 90% of the food they consume and Brazil, 70% of the fertilizers it needs. That is an example of complementarity.

In this respect, the Chamber has been working more and more on reciprocal investment and partnerships between Brazilians and Arabs. "This is our main focus for the end of the year," stated Sarkis.

He recalled that total exports from the Arab countries generated US$ 809 billion last year, and imports, US$ 560 billion, generating a surplus of US$ 249 billion. "These are funds that were invested in infrastructure and in the improvement of the population's living conditions up to now," said the Arab Brazilian Chamber president.

Apart from agribusiness, the organization has been trying to promote business in the area of tourism, not just to bring Arab tourists to Brazil, but also to attract investment to the sector. The organization is establishing cooperation agreements with the ministries of Agriculture and Tourism.

Sarkis pointed out that an event that contributed to the increase of trade and opened possibilities for advances in economic relations was the creation of the direct flight between Dubai and São Paulo by Emirates Airline, now a daily route. "This has greatly simplified the life of businessmen and expanded reciprocal knowledge," he said.

Anba – www.anba.com.br

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