Arab importers booked $6.5 million worth of Brazilian food products during a recently concluded matchmaking event for food companies at the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce offices in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The event also generated over $44 million in contracts spread over the next 12 months, according to the Arab Brazilian Chamber and the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex), which organised the matchmaking and roundtable events.
“We had very positive results in the areas of beef and chicken products,” said Michel Alaby, Chief Executive Officer of the Arab Brazilian Chamber.
“It was one of the most successful events we have had, and the partnership with Apex was crucial for the success of the project,” he added.
Alaby further said that they received positive feedback from the Arab and Brazilian companies that took part in the event. “The Arab delegates said that it was a very important visit that allowed them to learn more about Brazilian companies. Likewise their Brazilian counterparts found the roundtable discussions extremely fruitful,” he said.
Majority of the deals signed at the matchmaking event covered chicken, beef and fruit products.
Alaby also stated that Brazilian companies should invest more in the production of halal products. “The Arab importers were seeking halal-certified chocolate, sweets and food products. This represents a huge potential as currently they buy these products from Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore,” he said. Halal certification attests that the product complies with Islamic principles and does not contain substances that are unfit for consumption by Muslims.
The event was attended by 10 importers from the UAE, Kuwait and Jordan. On the Brazilian side, there were over 60 food companies that showcased their food products. Apart from conducting business meetings with Brazilian exporters, the visiting delegation also toured various food manufacturing facilities in Brazil.
The Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce represents 22 Arab countries. It was established in 1952 with the mission of strengthening commercial bonds between Brazil and the Arab countries, while increasing cultural and tourism exchange between Arabs and Brazilians.
The entity provides various services, such as Document Certification, Market Data, Translation, among others, and promotes events, workshops and courses. It also offers the Commercial Knowledge Center, a reference center for research on commercial relations between Brazil and the Arab countries.
Brazilian imports to the Arab countries have reached $4.2 billion from January to April 2012, representing an increase by 3 per cent in relation to the same period in 2011.
Exports from Arab countries, in turn, have also registered an important increase during the period, by 37 per cent in relation to the previous year, reaching $3.4 billion.
“Trade relations between Brazil and the Arab countries remained active throughout 2011 and has continued so in 2012,” says Arab Chamber official.
From the total of $4.2 billion in Brazilian exports during the period from January to April 2012, Saudi Arabia is in the lead as main destination, registering $953m. Next are the United Arab Emirates ($812 million) and Egypt ($595 million). Among the exported products, the highlights were sugar, meats, ores, cereals and vegetable oils.
Of Brazilian imports from the Arab countries, Algeria heads the list with $1.5 billion, followed by Saudi Arabia ($723 million) and Kuwait ($378 million). The main products imported were oil and oil products, fertilisers and plastics.
During April, the entity has identified commercial opportunities in the fields of construction and food products. In addition to the traditional products, Arab companies are looking for suppliers of flooring and tiling, powdered milk, guarana and nuts, among others.
To meet the demand and generate business, the Arab Chamber has been organising roundtables and receiving missions. Recently, two business roundtables were conducted between Dubai exporters and Brazilian importers at the institution’s headquarters.