- Posted by Mateus Ramos
"It is a great satisfaction to be able to participate in the Brazil & Arab Countries Economic Forum. Brazil pays special attention to its relationship with the Arab world, which has an important role in shaping our society through the many immigrants who arrived in our country. We intend to continue to strengthen our historical, cultural and friendship ties that unite our peoples. It is also our desire to take advantage of the enormous potential that remains to be explored in the most diverse sectors and to open new fronts of dialogue, work cooperation for the prosperity of our nations ".
The statement was made on Monday (19) by the President of the Republic, Jair Bolsonaro, at the opening of the Brazil & Arab Countries Economic Forum, organized by the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, to be held from October 19 to 22. This year, it will be a special edition in the online format with the participation of several Brazilian authorities and the 22 countries that are part of the Arab League. The theme of the Economic Forum is "The Future is Now" and aims to promote and strengthen commercial and cultural relations between countries, proposing a reflection on how these relations can evolve and be strengthened in a sustainable way.
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President Bolsonaro recalled his visit to the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia last year and stressed that it is "unequivocal evidence" of Brazilian interest in strengthening economic and social relations with the countries of the Arab League. He recalled Saudi Arabia's confidence in investing up to US $ 10 billion through that country's Public Investment Fund.
He also highlighted the importance of taking advantage of the infrastructure and logistics in the Arab countries to diversify and expand access to Brazilian products. He recalled that there are about 30 Brazilian companies that have commercial offices or production units in the Middle East and pointed out that it was "with great joy" that he learned of the opening in Dubai, in February 2019, of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce office. .
Another relevant point was the significant increase in investments from countries like the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait in the Brazilian market. "I am sure that we will multiply these numbers and we have already taken numerous measures that will allow the resumption of economic and sustainable growth in Brazil after the Covid-19 pandemic".
He noted that from January to August 2020 meat exports totaled US $ 4.8 billion and predicted that the country should reach the export value in 2019, of US $ 4.9 billion. In the same vein, President Bolsonaro said that Brazilian production of halal food, which respects the tradition and rules of the Muslim religion, is synonymous with quality and trust. "The Arab countries can count on Brazil as a strategic partner in guaranteeing their food security and we are ready to open new fronts of dialogue with the objective of establishing regulatory frameworks capable of expanding investments between Brazil and the Arab League".
The president of the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, Rubens Hannun, highlighted in his speech that Brazilians and Arabs maintain a bilateral relationship that is an example for the world. He noted that the Arab League is Brazil's third largest trading partner abroad, being the second in agribusiness.
However, said Rubens Hannun, it is still little. According to him, it is necessary to increase efforts to increase the flow of capital through new bilateral agreements. For example, non-double taxation and international investment protection agreements in the country.
In this line, the Arab Brazilian Chamber has prepared a series of strategic actions that will be presented at the Economic Forum. Among them, the signing of agreements in the commercial and logistics areas, based on the valorization of the already consolidated trade hubs and in consolidation in the Arab countries, aiming at the creation of direct sea routes between Brazil and the Arab ports.
He also stressed the importance of adopting new initiatives in order to reduce bureaucracy and provide security for the export and import of goods. In addition to the issue of food security, Brazil should explore new synergies with the Arab nations in the areas of energy, technological innovation, environmental preservation and sustainable production, said Hannun.
The secretary general of the Arab League, Ahmed Abou Al Ghait, expressed "great satisfaction" in participating in the Economic Forum Brazil & Arab Countries, as it will be an excellent opportunity to expand commercial and economic relations between the two peoples. According to him, the event will contribute to strengthen "our historical, cultural and economic ties", becoming an important vector for exploring new forms of cooperation between Arabs and Brazilians.
In the same vein, the minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, stated that, over the last few years, the commercial and investment relationship between the United Arab Emirates and Brazil has evolved. He believes that there is room for further bilateral trade between the two markets, emphasizing that Brazil should evaluate new business opportunities, such as the greater use of Arab ports. He highlighted that other areas have potential such as technology, innovation and energy.
The opening session of the Economic Forum was closed by the secretary general of the Union of Arab Chambers, Khaled Hanafy. He pointed out "being very happy" to participate in this event, which had to be held through a digital platform because of the pandemic.
"The holding of the Forum is proof of our ability to face challenges," stated Hanafy, adding that the Union of Arab Chambers represents the private sector of 22 Arab countries and that the organization has been committed to increasing economic relations between the two peoples . He noted that the Arab-Brazilian trade flow is still small and that it is necessary to "open the doors" for both imports and exports to grow.