Bruna Garcia Fonseca
São Paulo – The Emirate of Dubai intends to become the world’s top coffee importer. This is what Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) president Ahmed Bin Sulayem said during the Global Business Forum for Latin America (GBF), which took place in Panama City from April 9 to 10.
DMCC is a trade zone that already houses the world’s largest tea distribution center, accounting for 60% of the global trade. In February, it launched a Coffee Centre with cutting-edge infrastructure to attract companies to settle there and distribute coffee to the region, with roasting and packing machines, acclimatized storage, and other facilities.
Brazil has expanded its coffee sales to the Arabs as shown by the latest Coffee Exporters Council’s (CECAFÉ) report. During the first quarter this year, 429,000 sacks were shipped to that region, a 39% increase over the same period in 2018.
It has also been announced in the forum that Brazil was the Latin American leader in exports to Dubai in 2018. The emirate alone purchased USD 1.4 billion in Brazilian products, while exports from Dubai to Brazil stood at USD 100 million. These numbers were announced by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which organized GBF.
Sulayed also stated that the DMCC plans to house 30,000 companies in its area of influence and presented the concessions and exemptions to companies that want to settle there.
“In general, Latin American countries that presented in the forum highlighted their capacity for food and commodities production; agribusiness is definitely Latin American’s top exporting product,” said Janine de Menezes, Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce Marketing director, who participated in the event. She mentioned Haiti’s examples. “Haiti’s president Jovenel Moise presented the country’s potential as a food manufacturer and talked about investment opportunities in the country, which is being reconstructed,” she told. According to her, other matters discussed during the panels were logistics, fintechs and business in sectors other than agribusiness.
“Being there in the Global Business Forum for Latin America was extremely important for the Arab Brazilian Chamber because since it is an umbrella connecting Brazil to the 22 Arab countries, while the event was basically about the UAE and Latin America. the Chamber can take this information to the other 21 countries of the Arab League,” said Menezes. “It was important to witness the UAE real interest in developing business with Latin America and see that this is happening for the whole region,” she added.
During the forum, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) president Luis Alberto Moreno from Colombia presented some foreign direct investment (FDI) opportunities, such as the copper sector, the food security in Latin America as a whole, and Brazilian aircrafts (EMBRAER). According to him, studies show an increase of USD 3.3 billion per year in business when the countries open trade offices in their areas of interest and highlighted the importance of taking down barriers and logistic costs.
At the event, Dubai Chamber of Commerce president Hamad Buamim said the implementation of more trade agreements would expand businesses between these regions by USD 9.8 billion per year.
Buamim announced that Dubai Chamber will invest USD 27 million in Latin America over the next ten years and will open a fourth office in the region, this time in Mexico City. Dubai Chamber already has offices in São Paulo, Panama City, and Buenos Aires. For him, these are strategic centers to develop businesses.
According to the head of Dubai Chamber office in São Paulo, João Paulo Paixão, the event was successful. “The Global Business Forum has attracted over 800 visitors from 50 countries. It featured 17 panels with 46 speakers, and more than 300 bilateral meetings were facilitated,” he told. According to him, the Chamber will now evaluate when and where the next edition of the event will take place, which may happen once again in Dubai or in another Latin America country.
In addition to the names already announced such as Nubank VP Cristina Junqueira, Brazilian speakers also included Foreign Trade Chamber (CAMEX, acronym in Portuguese) executive secretary Carlo Pio. Pio delivered a message of optimism and said this is a new moment in Brazil, with a great potential to attract investments.
Translated by Guilherme Miranda