Blairo Maggi, Brazilian Minister of Agriculture, successfully completed his visit to the GCC, throwing the spotlight on the high quality of Brazilian goods, especially agriculture and livestock, as well as drawing interest from potential investors. Maggi was accompanied by a delegation composed of senior government officials, multinational companies, and leading private sector organizations such as the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (ABCC). The Brazilian delegations stops included Kuwait, followed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar.
According to recent statistics, Saudi Arabia emerged the fourth biggest importer of agriculture and livestock products from Brazil for the first quarter of 2017, while the UAE ranked 19th. In fact, the Middle East is the world’s biggest importer of poultry from Brazil. During the same period, Brazilian agribusiness export to the four GCC nations, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar touched USD 1.363 billion, an increase of 12 per cent for the same period in 2016.
During their visit to the GCC, the high-level delegation aimed at further strengthening its ties with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar in trade, investment and cooperation as these nations are long-time importers of Brazilian agri-business products, especially poultry. Nearly 20 delegates, representing about 25 agribusiness companies, met with senior government authorities in the four countries as well as participated in hosted seminars for potential investors to showcase their agribusiness projects in Brazil.
Rubens Hannun, President, Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Middle East in general and the four GCC nations, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar in particular, have been traditional trade partners for Brazil. The four-nation tour was held to underline the importance of the bilateral ties between the Arab countries and Brazilian agribusiness and showcase its untapped opportunities.”
The delegation expressed its gratitude to the GCC nations for their response to the ‘Operation Carne Fraca’ (‘Operation Weak Flesh’), an operation by the Federal Police of Brazil to investigate 21 of the country’s largest meat processing companies and subsequently leading to a ban on the import of meat and poultry products by some countries. In addition, the visit underscored Brazil’s role in ensuring food security for the Arab countries that invest in overseas agricultural projects to ensure proper supply to their markets.
“The ABCC, in particular, has played a key role in highlighting the measures taken by Brazil as part of ‘Operation Carne Fraca.’ As part of the Operation, we had organized a meeting of the Council of Arab Ambassadors in Brazil with Brazilian ministers as well as hosted a tour to a meat packer in Rio Grande do Sul to enlighten them about our stringent halal process. We continue to relay information between the governments and private sector players which has further cemented relations between Brazil and the Arab countries,” concluded Hannun.