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Gulf sees increased imports from Brazil

Dubai: Brazilian exports to the 22 countries of the "Arab League" increased by more than 28% during 2006, and with the Mercosur trade bloc ?" of which Brazil is a leading member ?" having just signed a free trade agreement with the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) they look set for further strong increases in trade in the years ahead.

Antonio Sarkis, the president of the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, said that exports to the region totalled Reais14.333bn ($7bn) during 2006, with imports from the region coming to just Reais11.54bn, giving a trade surplus of Reais2.793bn to Brazil.
According to Sarkis the main exports were frozen chicken, fruit, fruit juices, sugar, soya, coffee and cars.

The Mercosur trade bloc ?" which also includes Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela - recently ratified a free trade agreement with the GCC, and a tariff elimination is set to be carried out in three phases over the next eight years or so but there is still, as yet, not specific timetable.

These increases in trade have prompted French carrier CMA CGM to launch a brand new, direct service to the Middle East from Brazil. Called the Vasco Express, the first vessel called in Salalah, the first port of call in the Middle East, in late February.

The full port rotation for this service is as follows: Rio Grande, Salalah, Kor al Fakkan, Nhava Sheva (India), Port Louis, Durban, Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Paranagua, Itajai, Rio Grande.

CMA CGM also runs a weekly service to the Far East, from Santos to Durban, Port Keelung, Chiwagg, Hong Kong, Ningbo, Shanghai and Pusan.

Guilherme Pochaczevsky, commercial director for CMA CGM do Brasil, said: "We see the Asian trade as of extreme importance to our Brazilian services and, indeed to our worldwide services."  [02/05/07]

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