Pernambuco companies seek the Arab market
19 de outubro de 2017
Recife – Companies from Pernambuco want to join and expand in the Arab market. Near 20 companies and sector associations from the state took part this Thursday (19) of a meeting with Arab and African diplomats at Hotel Atlante Plaza in the capital Recife. A group of 25 diplomats is in Pernambuco for an official mission, joined also by the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce and Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Itamaraty).
Among the companies at the meeting was Moura, which produces car and industrial batteries. The company’s headquarters is in the state of Pernambuco, in the city of Belo Jardim, where it has five plants. It also owns industrial plants in São Paulo and in Argentina.
According to Moura’s business advisor, Lucas Gama Ferreira, the company exports mainly to South and Central America, plus African countries such as Angola and Liberia. It’s trying to enter the Arab market. Ferreira came to talk to the diplomats to get contacts with the goal to find local distributors.
Sugar mills Serra Grande and Trapiche, with operations in Pernambuco and Alagoas, also were represented in the meeting with the ambassadors. According to the commercial assistant Felipe Almeida, they already export to Middle East countries such as Yemen and Saudi Arabia, but the majority of external sales – which account for 50% to 60% of the business – go to Africa’s West Coast.
Almeida was at the Hotel Atlante Plaza to identify countries that could increase the company’s exports. He says that Europe will soon come in strong with its sugar production in the global market and that competition will be heated. Thus, the idea is to secure more market share to Serra Grande and Trapiche.
Altatronic, a company that produces and sells electrical systems, wants also to enter the Arab and African markets. It exports to countries such as Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia. According to the company’s director, Carolina Fonseca, it’s interested in selling to countries in Africa and the Middle East, but wants to better understand these markets.
Algeria’s ambassador in Brazil, Toufik Dahmani, talked with representatives from companies from Pernambuco that are interested in doing business with Algeria and said he was pleased with the meetings. “This is a human relation and also economic and commercial,” said Dahmani to ANBA, pointing out the importance of contacts in person.
The CEO of the Arab Chamber, Michel Alaby, said that the state has a great potential for business with Arab and African countries. He believes that there are good possibilities of exporting food products, such as fruits and meats, and importing products such as cotton.
The diplomats also got to know some of the investment opportunities in the state of Pernambuco. On Thursday morning, before the meeting with the companies, they watched a presentation by the president of the Pernambuco Economic Development Agency (ADDiper), Leonardo Cerquinho.
He talked to the ambassadors about projects that could be of interest for investments, such as a possible privatization of the Guararapes airport, concessions of highways in the state and the construction of a new terminal in the Suape port. According to Cerquinho, there are good opportunities in the infrastructure and distribution sectors.
Pernambuco is a distribution hub of products to other nearby states. Due to the air connections and the Suape port, it has become a logistics and distribution center for the nearby regions. Cerquinho presented the different productive sectors in Pernambuco, such as shipyards, pharmaceutical and textile clusters, a production center of grapes and wine, software development, etc.
Despite the proximity between Pernambuco and Africa via the ocean, there’s not much direct maritime transportation for trade, especially of containers. Angola’s ambassador in Brazil, Nelson Manuel Cosme, believes that this could be one of the benefits from the mission, the development of more maritime and air connections between Pernambuco and Africa.
The ambassadors are pleased with the initiative of a joint mission between Arabs and Africans. “It was a fine initiative (for the mission) and we should not stop here, but turn it into a regional mechanism of consultations,” Cosme told ANBA. “It’s an opportunity to solidify the relations of Arab and African relations, together with the state of Pernambuco,” added the diplomat from Algeria, who also expects the initiative to happen again.
The president of the Arab Chamber, Rubens Hannun, took part in the opening of the mission’s activities and also underscore the importance of this integration between diplomats from both regions, and said that the choice of Pernambuco as the destination for the delegation was the correct choice due to the cultural and historical ties of the state with Arabs and Africans. The dean of the Council of Arab Ambassadors, Ibrahim Alzeben, also praised the initiative.
The diplomats also watched on Thursday morning a presentation on tourism in the state. The president of the Pernambuco Tourism Company (Empetur), Adailton Feitosa, said that the state adopted a strategic policy of increasing air connections, which, according to him, was done to increase the tourism flow.
Two and a half years ago, the state had four direct international flights and currently it has 15. The result reflected in the data, since Pernambuco received 5.6 million tourists last year, against 5 million in 2015. Until August of this year, the number stood at 4 million and the expectation is to welcome 6 million tourists until the end of the year, according to Feitosa. Argentina is the top international source, and São Paulo is the main domestic source.
Pernambuco’s executive secretary of Foreign Affairs, Rachel Pontes, also met with the ambassadors on Thursday and said that the state has a lot to offer in an exchange with Arabs and Africans. “We are in the same challenge, of developing, of how to face the quick urbanization without suffering its negative effects,” she said.
*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani