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Trade Between Brazil And The Arab Countries

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Bilateral trade grew 50% in the month and was close to US$ 1.1 billion. Imports totalled US$ 598.4 million, presenting growth of 53%, and exports generated US$ 496.7 million, 45% more than in July 2004. All the figures present a record. 'It surprised once again,' stated the president of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (CCAB), Antonio Sarkis Jr.


São Paulo - Trade between Brazil and the Arab countries broke new records in July. Bilateral trade, the sum of exports plus imports, was close to US$ 1.1 billion in the month, an increase of almost 50% in comparison to the US$ 732.2 million registered in July last year.


"This is a historic record," stated the president of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (CCAB), Antonio Sarkis Jr. "If we make this result annual, i.e., multiply it by twelve, it will be close to the forecast that minister Furlan made to be reached in three years," he added.


During the summit between the Arab and South American countries, which took place in May, the minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Luiz Fernando Furlan, stated that the trade flow between Brazil and the 22 Arab countries should reach US$ 15 billion in 2007.


Sarkis believes that the July performance, stronger that that of the previous months, already reflects the effects of the summit that took place in Brazilian capital Brasília. "It is the result of the closer ties generated by the summit and by visits by businessmen," he said, also referring to the trade missions of Arab businessmen who visited Brazil in the first half and to the events in the Arab world that included the participation of Brazilian companies.


In July imports rose more than exports. Brazil purchased from the Arab countries the equivalent to US$ 598.4 million, a growth of 53% in comparison to the US$ 390 million in the same month of last year. With regard to June, foreign purchases rose 36%.


Apart from the summit and from the business meetings, Sarkis believes that the value of imports was greatly influenced by the increases in the price of oil on the foreign market.


Exports, in turn, generated US$ 496.7 million, a growth of 45% in comparison to July last year, when the value registered was US$ 342.3 million. In comparison to June, the increase was 15%. And this took place despite the appreciation of the Brazilian real against the US dollar, which supposedly makes Brazilian products more expensive on the foreign market.


To Sarkis, the birth of an export culture within companies has helped increase shipments. "Companies have conquered the markets and, with a favourable or unfavourable exchange rate, they are increasing their exports and collecting the fruit," he said.


He pointed out that the shipping to the Arab countries grew above the country average, which was also record in July. Brazilian exports generated, in total, more than US$ 11 billion in the month, an increase of 23%. Furthermore, purchases of Arab products also grew more than the total Brazilian import growth, which was 9.5% in July.


Seven months

In the accumulated result for the year, bilateral trade reached US$ 5.3 billion, an increase of 24% in comparison to the first seven months of 2004. Imports totalled US$ 2.619 billion, with growth of 26%. Exports in turn generated US$ 2.692 billion, 22% more than in the same period last year.


The figures strengthen the idea that the growth of exports to the Arab world may exceed 20% in 2005. "The result surprised once again," stated Sarkis. At the beginning of the year, the CCAB forecasted that exports to the Arab countries would grow between 12% and 13% in 2005. "If exports continue with this strength, we may believe that we are going to end the year at over 20%," he added.


The figure also confirms that in the second half of the year trade with the region is stronger than in the first. Up to July, shipments grew 18%.

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