Arab Chamber, Abiec strikes cooperation deal

november 3 2016

The Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce and the Brazilian Beef Exporters Association (Abiec) signed on to a technical cooperation agreement this Monday (31) to work together in advertising and building the product image of beef from Brazil in Arab countries. The deal, which should lead to even closer coordination between the parties, was signed by Arab Chamber president Marcelo Sallum and Abiec chairman Antônio Jorge Camardelli in São Paulo.

The organizations already engage in efforts together on occasion; now, they intend to do it more often. "We will enhance the long-standing partnership that the Arab Chamber sustains with Abiec," Sallum told ANBA, stressing that the parties will join forces to share information, build new partnerships, and work with the Brazilian government.

According to Camardelli, the goal is to usher in a new stage of the partnership. Abiec's chairman argues that given the government scenario today, the bulk of promotional work will have to be handled by the private sector. We must organize and see what avenues we will have to take so we can work together," Camardelli said.

The agreement is intended to increase the market share for Brazilian beef in Arab countries through collaboration in promotional events; and to forward the industry's agenda by building rapport between Arab and Brazilian importers and exporters and pushing for the addressing of trade barriers.

Plans also include doing market research, sharing relevant trade-related information, working to facilitate trade and participating actively in strategic Arab-related agendas. Both organizations pledged to come together on a regular basis to plan out their actions.

One of the Arab Chamber's and Abiec's latest tandem efforts was offering a halal barbecue for Arab importers last October during Sial, the Paris food industry show, to advertise halal beef produced in Brazil. Roughly 400 executives attended. "Our message got across," Camardelli told ANBA regarding the Sial barbecue. Sallum added that several Arab companies were there as well.

The Arab countries are major buyers of Brazilian beef, with Egypt and Saudi Arabia being some of the biggest single buyers globally. From January to September of this year, Egypt held the fourth position, with Saudi Arabia in tenth place. The Egyptian market imported 162,700 tons in the period, generating USD 506.5 million in revenues to Brazil, and the Saudis bought 22,400 tons, with USD 85.7 million in revenues.

In revenues, exports to Egypt increased 0.9% in the first nine months of this year over the same months of last year. From January to September of 2015, revenues stood at USD 502 million. In volume, sales to the country surged 11% in the period against 146,600 tons in the first nine months of last year. Saudi Arabia didn't imported Brazilian beef from January to September of 2015 since exported were under an embargo.

The two organizations worked together, along with other institutions and the federal government, to end the Saudi ban on Brazilian beef. The embargo started at the end of 2012, when the Brazilian government announced that an animal that died in Paraná state in 2010 had been infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The animal hadn't developed the disease and the case was considered an "atypical" one by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The embargo ended in November of last year.

Sallum and Camardelli signed the cooperation agreement in a meeting at the Arab Chamber headquarters, in the presence of Arab Chamber CEO Michel Alaby, board chairman Walid Yazigi, senior advisor on Institutional and International Affairs Ramez Goussous and Market Intelligence director Mauricio Borges. Abiec Relations staff member Lhais Sparvoli was also in attendance.

Brazil-Arab News Agency