The minister of Industry and Trade of Egypt, Rachid Mohamed Rachid, praised the work developed by Brazil at the World Trade Organization (WTO) for the Doha Rounds during his stay in the capital of São Paulo state, this Monday, August 11.
The minister said, in a press conference, that Brazil played the part of organizing, explaining and defending the interests of developing nations very well. "Brazil is doing an excellent job. The country is defending the rights of developing nations," said Rachid.
One of the requests of developing countries in the Doha Rounds, considered a failure after the last WTO meeting, was to open the agricultural markets of developed nations to the poorer nations.
Both Egypt and Brazil are members of the G-20, a group of developing nations that led the talks. According to Rachid, WTO negotiations should be among the themes discussed in a meeting with Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim.
"We are greatly interested in returning to the WTO negotiations and reaching a solution," said Rachid. The minister recalled that Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been making efforts in this respect, talking, for example, with the American and Chinese leaders.
"I think we are all determined not to let this opportunity escape. It will happen, but the sooner it happens, the better," he said. "The true challenge is to reach an equilibrium between the advantages that the ministers of trade see to the global economy and the domestic policies of protectionism and favoritism," he said.
Five years ago, Egypt and the South American bloc Mercosur signed a framework agreement that expressed the desire of both parties to establish a trade agreement. Rachid said, during the seminar in São Paulo, that the partnership with the Mercosur is very important to the Arab country.
"Now is the time for us to establish a trade agreement," said the minister. Rachid believes that the treaty may be concluded next year.
Despite the Mercosur, Egypt also has plans to intensify relations with Brazil. One of the areas of greatest interest, according to Rachid, is the agricultural area. One of the products that the country plans to sell in greater volume to Brazil is fertilizer. "Egypt is now becoming one of the great exporters of fertilizers. This may be one of the areas for cooperation between both nations," he said.
Rachid also added that Egypt and Brazil may work together for food safety. "Cooperating, we may work much to expand food production, efficiency and food productivity," said Rachid. He stated that Egypt has agreements with countries like Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, countries that are, according to him, extremely underdeveloped in agricultural terms. "They have much fertile land, water, but not good agriculture," he said.
The experience of Brazil, according to him, may serve these countries. Egypt itself, according to the minister, is not exploring its entire potential in the agricultural area. In the area of sugar, for example, the minister recalled that although there are 100 kinds of sugarcane, Egypt uses just one. But the country still produces sugar.
"How can we improve this, develop it? How can we use all the technology to obtain new uses for sugarcane as animal feed, as a source for alcohol and biofuel? There is enormous potential," he concluded.