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05/07/2017 - 20:22hs

Arab Chamber president meets with ambassadors in Brasília

Rubens Hannun sat down for meetings with Saudi Arabian, Qatari and Kuwaiti diplomats to assess the trip to the Gulf organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and to discuss forthcoming actions.

São Paulo – The Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce’s president Rubens Hannun, International Relations vice president Osmar Chohfi and CEO Michel Alaby had meetings this Wednesday afternoon (5) in Brasília with ambassadors Hisham Alkahtani of Saudi Arabia, Mohamed Alhayki of Qatar and Ayadah Alsaidi of Kuwait. They went over the results of a trip to the Gulf organized last May by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture. The Arab Chamber was involved.

“The primary goal was to review the trip with the Ministry of Agriculture and to discuss our forthcoming actions in tandem with those countries,” said Hannun, who supplied the diplomats with a report on the trip and with Brazilian-Arab trade numbers covering January to May this year.

In the wake of Brazilian Federal Police beef industry probe Operação Carne Fraca last March, the Arab Brazilian Chamber took action quickly to make sure Brazilian exports to the Middle East and North Africa did not stop. It bridged the gap between industry players, Arab diplomats and the Brazilian government, and it also relayed information to concerned parties.

The Federal Police operation looked into suspicions of a bribery scheme involving Brazilian meat packers and Agriculture Ministry inspectors, and that raised concerns among countries that buy Brazilian beef. Some even stopped buying for a while.

During the trip to the Gulf, minister Blairo Maggi thanked the authorities for the way they approached the case. He guaranteed the quality of Brazilian beef and stressed that the Ministry is available for any clarifications needed.

The delegation travelled to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Hannun and Alaby will be at the UAE embassy on Thursday (6) to discuss the same issue. Besides Ministry officials and Arab Brazilian Chamber executives, the delegation comprised executives who had business meetings with investors and personnel from local enterprises.

Besides discussing the outcome of the trip, Hannun, Chohfi and Alaby and the ambassadors talked about forthcoming actions, such as a Brazilian products fair the Chamber is planning to have with Saudi Arabia’s Panda supermarket chain; the establishment of a Brazil-Saudi Arabia Business Council – which is underway; and the prospect of having a Saudi commercial delegation travel to Brazil.

With the Qatari ambassador, the Arab Chamber executives went over the details of a trip by Qatari executives to Brazil. They also told the diplomat that the Chamber is hoping to encourage more Brazilian companies to join trade shows in Qatar.

They also reminded the Kuwaiti ambassador that the Ministry’s delegates visited the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), and that KISR could join forces with the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) for cooperation programs. Embrapa’s president Maurício Antônio Lopes was one of the delegates on the trip.

“We also thank you for arranging the trip so swiftly. In the midst of an emergency, of our meat industry crisis, they [the diplomats] had to act quickly so that we could be welcomed [by the local authorities],” said Hannun.

The Arab Brazilian Chamber’s Government Relations executive Tamer Mansour was also at the meetings with the ambassadors.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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