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04/07/2014 - 07:00hs

World Cup project showed more of Brazil to Arabs

Importers engaging in matchmaking and visits during the tournament were able to talk business and visit Brazilian companies. Arab Chamber and the Apex expect good sales in the future.

São Paulo – The matchmaking rounds held as a part of the World Cup Project and involving Arab importers and Brazilian companies were positive and should be conducive to deals in the future. More than that, however, the coming of buyers from the Middle East and North Africa has enabled them to learn more about the Brazilian products and factories, strengthening the relationship between the parties involved, and driving new sales.

Marcos Carrieri/ANBA

Thirty companies participated in the first set of matchmaking rounds

This is the general assessment made by the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce and the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) regarding the meetings promoted in partnership by the two organizations. The project invited Arab importers to Brazil during the World Cup, so they could pay visits to Brazilian manufacturing plants, talk business with local businessmen and watch the games.

The business discussions and visits to plants took place in June and July. They involved Arab food and building material buyers and Brazilian suppliers.

“Combining the matchmaking and the visits provides these importers with a new view. They were able see the companies’ facilities up close, and learn about their strategies regarding the Arab world. This system allows for increased contact between companies and importers,” said Michel Alaby, the Arab Chamber CEO.

“The businessmen took advantage of the contacts they made during the games and brought the buyers over to their manufacturing units, and this was great,” said Rafael Gratão, advisor to the executive management department for Image and Market Access at Apex-Brasil.

Good outlook

The first matchmaking round, on June 9th and 10th, was attended by food importing companies Al Islami Foods and Choithraim, both from the United Arab Emirates, and Al Yasra, from Kuwait. They got in touch with 30 Brazilian suppliers. According to figures compiled by the Arab Chamber, one of the Brazilian companies closed a deal during the matchmaking, and another eight expect to do business in the next 12 months, with amounts ranging from US$ 100,000 to US$ 5 million.

On June 26th, the matchmaking involved construction companies Bajafar, from Sudan, Atraco, from Saudi Arabia, and ITG Construction, from Kuwait. On July 2nd, the North African food companies Ragab Sons Group, from Egypt, Onab, from Algeria and Koutoubia, from Morocco convened with Brazilian executives. Figures for these final rounds, however, are not available yet. It is worth noting that the last two events involved a total of 23 Brazilian companies.

According to Alaby, all of the importers said the outlook is positive regarding future deals. As an aspect to be improved, they highlighted the importance of being able to negotiate with Brazilians who are English speakers.

“There is no question that the importers are leaving with a positive image (of national companies). For some buyers, it is crucial to engage in closer contact with Brazilian executives,” said Gratão.

For the long haul

Alaby also pointed out that deals with Arabs take some time to come through. “These are deals that need maturing. They come to Brazil seeking relationship, trust and partnerships for the long haul,” he said.

The Arab Chamber CEO also said the organization is planning on holding new meetings along the same lines. “One of our priorities in the next few years is to have more events of this kind, where Brazil can be showcased further,” he said.

The next Arab Chamber project, by the way, is already being developed in partnership with the Brazilian Pharmachemical Industry Association (Abiquifi). In August, when the leading industry fair, CPhi South America, will take place in São Paulo, the organizations will bring 11 importers from Egypt, Yemen, Emirates, Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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