Brazil strengthens business, trade ties with Saudi Arabia

19 February 2013
JEDDAH - In recognition of Saudi Arabia's stature as Brazil's main trade partner in the Middle East, starting next month (March), the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) will hold a one-week trade and business-to-business roadshow and dialogue every month with Saudi businessmen in order to facilitate access to Brazilian companies.

Sidney Alves Costa, Business Support Center, Apex-Brazil Middle East, said Monday that the initiative was prompted by Brazil's "commitment to further strengthen trade relations with Saudi Arabia and bolster business partnerships between entrepreneurs in both countries."

In an interview with the Saudi Gazette on the sidelines of the four-day Brazilian Trade Mission to the Middle East that kicked off at the Park Hyatt Marina, Jeddah, he said the Mission aims to create a platform that would encourage improved trade and business ventures with Saudi business concerns, particularly in food & beverages, building materials and engineering infrastructure.

Likewise, he stressed that the Mission has also opened the avenue for possible partnerships and business opportunities in other sectors as well.

Bilateral trade between Brazil and the Kingdom has been flourishing and, in 2012 alone, Brazil exported $3 billion worth of goods to Saudi Arabia, 80 percent of which are in foods. Meanwhile, Brazil imports from the Kingdom reached $3.2 billion in the same year.

Costa further said Apex-Brasil, which is responsible for the trade promotion and attraction of foreign direct investment into strategic sectors of the Brazilian economy, also "fosters continuous expansion of Brazil's foreign trade with focus on innovative products with distinctive design and which comprise advanced technology and higher added value."

Saudi Arabia has imported more than $50 million worth of housing and construction materials from Brazil in 2012, representing a 10.6 percent increase from $45 million in 2011, according to statistics released by Apex-Brasil. Various types of wood products topped the list of housing and construction exports to the Kingdom amounting to over $18.4 million; followed by pallets, box pallets and other wooden pallets and load boards at over $9.7 million. Brazilian manufacturers also supplied more than $3.3 million worth of plywood in 2012, completing the top three housing and construction exports to the Kingdom.

The main construction and housing materials that are being exported from Brazil to Saudi Arabia also include refractory bricks, blocks, tiles and similar ceramic constructional goods, mosaic cubes, artificially colored granules, glazed ceramic flags, paving/hearth/wall tiles, hammers and sledge hammers, wooden furniture, spades and shovels, pliers, pincers, tweezers and similar tools, medium density fireboard of wooden and other ligneous materials, roofing tiles, hand saws, and machine tools, among several others.

Moreover, Costa said Brazil "is very open" to share its knowledge to any county that requests for such assistance through the Brazilian Agency for Cooperation. He said the Brazilian government has different agencies that handle various and distinct economic and business cooperation, adding that the Brazilian Company for Agricultural Research, for instance, currently extends technical assistance to some African countries.

"If requested to, through the right channel, Brazil is more than willing to render its expertise and know-how," he noted, adding that "Brazil is committed to Saudi food security."

Mauricio Borges, President of Apex-Brasil, organizer of the trade mission, said: "The rapid pace of development that is happening across Saudi Arabia has driven the demand for construction and housing materials in the Kingdom. The number of housing projects is particularly rising sharply as the government continues with its proactive initiatives to address the fundamental needs of its rising population. Leveraging decades of strong bilateral ties, Brazil is ideally positioned to help satisfy the supply gap and ensure continuity in the development programs of the Saudi government."

"The business meeting in the Kingdom during the Brazilian Trade Mission to the Middle East, in particular, will be an important networking platform that will gather key stakeholders to discuss possibilities to further expand the trade activities and generate greater value for both countries," he added.

© The Saudi Gazette 2013


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