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22/01/2018 - 07:00hs

The year 2017 was intense for the Arab Chamber

The organization had a schedule full of activities, such as missions, fairs, overcoming of challenges and management of crises, with an eye to the future.

São Paulo – An intense year with activities, actions, missions, fairs, overcoming of challenges and management of crises. That was 2017 for the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce. “All of our actions were aimed at building the future. We are the eyes of the Arabs regarding Brazil and vice versa, and we have a social responsibility towards all the involved countries,” said the organization’s president, Rubens Hannun.

Press Release

Stand of the CCAB at the APAS fair

He said that last year was strategic to materialize actions and partnerships for 2018. “We want to make sure that Brazil prioritizes the Arab countries in the areas of commodities, meats and other products, to ensure that there’s no lack of trade between the countries, generating a mutual and integrated benefit,” he explained.

As soon as Hannun took the position as president, in February, he sought to expand relations with the Arab League, in a meeting with the organization’s secretary-general, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit.

In March, after the launching of Operação Carne Fraca, the Chamber set up an interdisciplinary Crisis Committee, gathering executive and statutory directors. “In this moment of crisis, we could not take untimely actions; we value the reliability of Brazil’s relations with the Arabs and prioritized to forward accurate and transparent information, to maintain this trust,” said Hannun.

After analyzing and understand the scenario, the Chamber visited the Brazilian associations of the meat sector, the minister of Agriculture, Blairo Maggi, and met with the Arab ambassadors in Brasília to discuss the situation with them all.

Also within this repositioning plan of Brazilian meat, a Brazilian barbecue was held in Egypt, to promote the national product. In May, there was a mission with Maggi to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Hannun said that “these efforts prevented exports to drop, and, until the end of the year, the sector experienced a growth.”

New headquarters

Rodrigo Rodrigues

The new headquarters was designed by architect Ruy Ohtake

Another of the year’s highlights was the opening of the new headquarters in April. It takes two floors of the Santa Catarina building, on Paulista Avenue, São Paulo. “The new headquarters was the result of the Chamber’s 65 years of existence and, in the inauguration, we welcomed all of the Arab ambassadors, representatives from Itamaraty [Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs] and even Tunisia’s Foreign Minister,” said Hannun.

In August, the Chamber presented a project to the Secretariat of Strategic Affairs of the Presidency (SAE) to include the Arab countries in the country’s commercial, cultural, sporting and social actions.

In September, Hannun met with the president of the Union of Arab Chambers, Nael Al Kabariti, and from this meeting with Kabariti, held in Jordan, came the idea of holding the Brazil-Arab Countries Economic Forum, which is scheduled for April 2018 in São Paulo. Also in September, the Chamber became part of the International Chamber of Commerce, which will allow it to take part in the international committees in 2018.

In October, BNDES’ president, Paulo Rabello de Castro, gave a lecture at the Chamber and signed an agreement with the organization to promote meetings with the Arab sovereign funds. The project, which is still being negotiated, is to discuss the funding of production and logistics of Brazilian commodities purchased by the Arab market.

Isaura Daniel/ANBA

The governor of Goiás, Marconi Perillo (C), visited the stand of the Chamber at Gulfood

In November, to maintain and expand relations with the Arab countries, the Chamber was part of a mission to the Gulf organized by the Investment Partnership Program of the Presidency (PPI), which also included the BNDES. The delegation met with representatives of funds from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain.

In December, the Chamber attended, for the first time, a ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), in Argentina. The visit of Egypt’s minister of Industry and Commerce and the launching of the Brazil-Egypt Business Council also took place in the same month.

Last year, the organization visited 14 of the 22 Arab countries, plus four non-Arab countries – France, Argentina, England and Germany –, totaling over 160 days of missions.

The Chamber also took part in eight of the world’s largest fairs in many sectors, such as Gulfood, Big 5 and Anuga. “The fairs strengthen relations between Brazil and the Arab countries and are essential to the continuous growth of exports,” concluded Hannun.

*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani

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