Egypt's minister of Industry and Trade, Rachid Mohamed Rachid, is coming to Brazil this week with the objective of improving trade relations between both countries. He should come accompanied by a delegation of Egyptian businessmen in several fields, who are going to participate in business roundtables with representatives of Brazilian companies.
"We are looking at Brazil in a strategic manner," said the executive director of the International Relations Department at the Egyptian ministry, Mona Wahba. According to her, Brazil and Egypt are political and economic leaders in their respective regions. "We believe that the time has come for closer ties, with greater attention to business, technical cooperation and investment," she added.
This Monday morning, August 11, the minister is going to participate in a seminar about business and investment opportunities at the Federation of Commerce of the State of São Paulo (Fecomércio) organized by the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce and open to businessmen from Brazil.
According to Mona, Rachid does not just want to discuss the Egyptian export possibilities to Brazil and Brazilian investment in Egypt, but also ways to sell more Brazilian products in the Arab country and about promoting Egyptian investment in Brazil.
Showing that the moment is opportune, she mentioned the electric material factory that the Egyptian El Sewedy group is going to open in Minas Gerais and the joint venture recently established between Brazilian bus body maker Marcopolo and the Egyptian GB Auto for the production of buses in the North African country.
On the same day, the 21 businessmen of the delegation, who are exporters and importers, are going to meet with Brazilian companies. They represent sectors like food, textile, medical equipment, building, chemicals, banking and auto parts, among others.
Still on Monday, Rachid should meet with representatives of great Brazilian companies interested in Egypt and with representatives of sector organizations. One of the meetings should take place at the Brazilian Association of Auto Parts Manufacturers (Sindipeças).
"The idea is to talk to sector representatives to discuss the Egyptian investment potential, as the country has great carmakers, like GM, Volkswagen, Mercedes, Suzuki, Fiat and now Marcopolo," stated the secretary general at the Arab Brazilian Chamber, Michel Alaby.
On Tuesday, the minister should travel to Brasília, where he should meet ministers Miguel Jorge (Development, Industry and Foreign Trade), Celso Amorim (Foreign Relations) and Edison Lobão (Mines and Energy). On Wednesday he should meet the minister for Agriculture, Reinhold Stephanes.
Among the themes to be discussed, according to Mona, is the progress of negotiations of the trade treaty between the Mercosur and Egypt, which have already started but have not been concluded. After the collapse of the Doha Rounds at the World Trade Organization (WTO), minister Amorim had already said that Brazil would turn special attention to bilateral trade talks.
Egypt and Brazil are members of the G-20, the bloc of developing countries that operate together in specific negotiations at the WTO, up to the organization's last ministerial meting in Geneva. "It is now important for there to be coordination, positive alignment between the leaders of developing countries," stated the director.
Mona also added that the delegation from her country should also include a representative from the Ministry for Agriculture, who should talk to Brazilian authorities about the elimination of barriers to exports of live cattle from Brazil to Egypt. The idea, if the negotiations progress, is to sign a protocol in this sense still next week.
In the last phase of the trip, next Thursday, Rachid should travel to Belo Horizonte, where he should meet with Minas Gerais state governor Aécio Neves and participate in the inauguration of the El Sewedy factory, named Electro Meters and opened in partnership with a Brazilian company. The investment in the project totaled US$ 5 million.
Rachid was empowered at the ministry in July 2004, becoming the first businessman to take on the post, according to the organization's site on the Internet. He graduated in mechanical engineering from the University of Alexandria and took extension courses at the universities of Harvard and Stanford and at the MIT, all North American institutions.
Egypt is one of the main trade partners of Brazil in the Arab world and a great importer of commodities. Brazilian exports to the country generated US$ 544 million in the first half of this year. The main items in the basket were beef, iron ore, sugar, chassis with engines for buses, calcinated alumina, tobacco, soy oil, chicken, Kraft paper and soy in grain.
Imports of products from the Arab country, in turn, totaled US$ 68.6 million, an increase of 410% over the same half last year. The main products shipped from Brazil were fertilizers, cotton, carbon blacks, leather and cotton thread.
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