Brazil, Morocco intent on boosting trade

Brazil, Morocco intent on boosting trade

Moulay Hafid Elalamy, the Moroccan Minister of Industry, Trade, & New Technologies.
Moulay Hafid Elalamy, the Moroccan Minister of Industry, Trade, & New Technologies.

Rabat, Morocco (ANBA, Marcos Carrieri, – Healthcare, foodstuffs, defense and services are some of the Brazilian industries that are looking to increase their market share in Morocco. Last Thursday (10th), executives from those sectors attended the Brazil-Morocco Business Meeting, organized by the Brazilian Foreign Ministry in Rabat, the Moroccan capital. The Brazilian delegation is led by foreign minister Mauro Vieira, who also visited Ethiopia and will head to Tunisia with the group.

In his address, Vieira said trade between the two countries grew more than tenfold from 2002 to 2012, but has yet to fulfill its full potential. He also noted that trade revolves around few products. Brazil basically ships sugar to Morocco, which in turn sells fertilizers to Brazil.

“It is about time we broadened this portfolio. Morocco boasts vast arable lands, so there is a demand for machinery and inputs, a need Brazilian companies could meet,” he argued. “The meetings [stemming from the seminar] show great promise. We wish to enhance business on both sides, as well as attract Moroccan businesses into Brazil. Our doors are open,” the minister said, mentioning industries that require investments such as logistics and infrastructure.Brazil runs a deficit in its trade with Morocco. In 2015, it shipped USD 494.2 million worth of goods there and imported USD 739.78 million – the ensuing bilateral trade trade flow was USD 1.23 billion. “We want to find areas where we share interests, areas where there are comparative advantages, and sectors that allow for partnerships. There is a lot to be had in terms of the development and well-being of our peoples,” Vieira said.

Executives are looking to increase sales:

The Moroccan minister of Industry, Commerce, Investment and Digital Economy, Moulai El Alamy, stated that the North African country is investing in industrial expansion and remarked that businesses from both countries must get together and negotiate if exports are to grow. The president of the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM), Meriem Bensalah-Chaqroum, said synergies must be identified in potentially complementary industries, cases in point being pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs and transportation.

Brazilian enterprises attending the meeting include construction companies Queiroz Galvão and Andrade Gutierrez, food processing company BRF, aircraft maker Embraer, defense company Avibras, pharma company Eurofarma, neonatal equipment company Fanem, Volkswagen Brazil, and engineering firm Itec Engenharia. The National Institute of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality (Inmetro), the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), the Brazilian Beef Exporters Association (Abiec) and the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce are also represented in the Brazilian delegation.

The 52 participating Moroccan enterprises operate in industries including pharmaceuticals, construction, engineering, and food exports/imports. Some of them are already active in Brazil, such as fertilizer company OCP and airline Royal Air Maroc.

Before the meeting began, foreign minister Mauro Vieira met with the Brazilian companies’ executives, who outlined their intentions in Morocco and the challenges to increasing their relevance in the country. One of them deals in technology equipment, but lost touch with Moroccan government officials in the past few years. Food industry executives said Moroccan customs barriers hamper their sales. Beef industry executives said the import tax prevents sales from increasing. Government officials and the executives agreed that transportation services and infrastructure building are sectors with potential for expansion.

After Morocco, Vieira will travel to Tunisia, the final leg of his visit to the three African countries. He spent Monday (7th) and Tuesday (8th) in Ethiopia, a non-Arab country.

The Arab Chamber’s government relations manager Tamer Mansour said ties between the countries will be at a new level after this meeting. “The seminar was a positive experience; it conveyed a broad view of what each of the countries wants. The goal is partnerships. It is no longer just about exporting and importing. Both sides are looking for deeper partnerships between enterprises. I stress the words of minister Mauro Vieira regarding Morocco’s importance, not only to Arab countries, but to Africa. It is a gateway for Brazilian goods,” he said.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

Brazil Arab News Agency.