logo_anba_en logo_camera_en
27/02/2018 - 15:46hs

Forum addresses UAE-Latin America relations

On the first day of the Latin America Global Business Forum, held by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, authorities and executives discussed business opportunities involving the regions at hand.

Dubai – There’s much room for Latin America to expand its relations with the UAE and, by extension, with other Arab countries in the Gulf. Such was the conclusion reached by speakers on the first day of the 2018 Latin America Global Business Forum (GBF) this Tuesday (27) in Dubai’s Atlantis the Palm Hotel.

Heads of state, ministers and business executives discussed opportunities involving the two regions at hand during the event held by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, w sponsorship from the UAE vice president and prime minister and Dubai emir Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. According to them, these opportunities can be found in a number of sectors of the economy, ranging from foodstuffs to sustainable energy, tourism and even fintechs – financial technology companies.

André Barros/ANBA

Jaguaribe mentioned the actions being taken by the Mercosur

The president of the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil), Roberto Jaguaribe, was one of the panelists of the day. He mentioned the work that Brazil and the Mercosur are doing in foreign trade.

“We are in good standing with the Pacific Alliance countries. As for trade agreements, we are concluding talks with Europe and in discussions with Canada, South Korea, Japan and other countries,” Jaguaribe said. He also spoke on the historical ties that Brazil and the Arab countries sustain. “Millions of Brazilians are of Arab descent. DP World purchased the [Embraport terminal at] the Port of Santos, and we have One Foods, the biggest halal protein manufacturer in the world,” he said. One Foods is the halal arm of BRF, the holding company which owns the Sadia and Perdigão brands.

Panelist Marcos Troyjo, the director of the BRICLab at Columbia University (USA), remarked that Latin American governments have made strides in fighting corruption, one of the main challenges facing the region. According to him, Brazil and Argentina took a turn towards economic liberalism in the past few years, and this has put them on the radars of international investors.

Food products are a mainstay of foreign trade between the two regions right now. A study presented by the Dubai Chamber at the event shows that foodstuffs from Latin America made up 9% of agricultural imports by Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) in 2016. The GCC countries are Saudi Arabia, Bahrein, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and Oman.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE accounted for 80% of the BRL 4.3 billion (USD 1.3 billion) worth of goods shipped from Latin America to the region in 2016. According to the Dubai Chamber, Brazil and Argentina were the biggest suppliers, and 98% of the beef 91% of the sugar purchased by GCC countries come from Brazil. Argentina supplies mostly cereals and animal fodder.

Press Release

Minister Al Hashimy champions partnerships

Former Mexican president Vicente Fox addressed the protectionist trend seen around the world right now, in contrast with the globalization so widely touted in the past decade. As case in points, he mentioned the United Kingdom’s exiting the Eurozone, the independence movements in Catalonia, Spain, and Mexico’s biggest trading partner, the United States, which is shutting down its borders to foreign products since president Donald Trump took office.

“The United States accounts for 8%% of Mexico’s foreign trade. It was a mistake to depend on one single country this much,” Fox regretted. He also criticized the US president. “We used to deal in cereals a lot with our neighbors. Now, we will start looking to Brazil and Argentina more,” he said, noting that market diversification paves the way for more business to be done with the Gulf countries.

Conversely, the UAE are interested in continuing to invest in Latin America. Its International Cooperation minister, Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy, said her country – which is set to host Expo 2020 137 weeks from now – believes in new partnerships and business opportunities. “Together we can go further,” he said.

DP World chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem mentioned a USD 1.2 billion investment in a deepwater port in Posorja, Ecuador. The Dubai-based port operator has secured a firm foothold in the region: it owns terminals in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, the Dominican Republic and Suriname.


With its vast diversity and environmental wealth, Latin America can make a big contribution to sustainable energy development. Mohamed Al Ramahi, CEO of Abu Dhabi’s clean energy company Masdar, said the company and the UAE wish to invest in countries whose governments take a sustainable approach to energy. “By 2050, we want 25% of power consumption in the UAE to come from clean and mostly renewable sources,” he said, pointing to solar power as a natural choice given the country’s climate.

Press Release

President Varela of Panama travelled with a large delegation to GBS 2018

World Travel and Tourism Council chairman Gerald Lawless pointed out that tourism accounts for 10% of the world’s GDP, and that the industry employs over 252 million people around the globe. “Dubai has a population of 3 million, and it welcomes 16 million tourists a year,” he asserted. According to him, some cities can no longer take in visitors, and this is an opportunity for new destinations. This is where Latin America could play a key role.

The 2018 edition of the GBF welcomed a big delegation from Panama, including president Juan Carlos Varela. He likened his country with Dubai: two global hubs for people and goods. The Central American country is a key distribution hub from where goods get shipped to America, via the Canal Panama.

Varela confirmed that Panama will be at Expo 2020. He and Dubai heir prince Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum signed on to a memorandum of understanding to open a Dubai Chamber office in Panama City.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

Send by Email


Your comment will be sent to a moderator before being published.