Bruna Garcia Fonseca
São Paulo – Saudi Arabia wants to diversify the two-way trade with Brazil. The statement was made by the charge d’affaires of the Saudi embassy in Brasília, Mohammed Khan (picture), in a visit to the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, in São Paulo, this Friday (09). “Our job is to bring together Brazilian and Saudi companies to find investment opportunities and foster new relations. We have to be optimistic,” said Khan.
He mentioned that within the Saudi government’s reform plan Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the local economy, the country is seeking investments for the areas of infrastructure, business, human resources, tourism, among others. Khan added that Brazil has got good investment opportunities in the Arab country within the plan.
Saudi Arabia was the top destination for Brazilian poultry exports in 2017, with a 15.39% share of the total. From all of the goods exported to Saudi Arabia in 2017, poultry accounted for 38%.
“We need to diversify the goods we import from Brazil also, as to not concentrate so much on poultry, but also on the fields of clean energy, solar energy, defense, technology and tourism,” he listed. According to Khan, all of these fields can benefit of a cooperation with Saudi Arabia. “The most important aspect of this cooperation is to bring the technology to Saudi Arabia, not only consumption, but to develop the investment and technology over there,” he emphasized.
Khan said that Saudi Arabia has been investing heavily in clean and solar energy, that contributions in this sector are welcome from all countries. He said also that there is a considerable investment in agriculture on the part of the Saudi government, but that they need to expand the field, and also in livestock, which is in the early stages, of adaptation by the animals, due to the challenging climate.
“We are working to accommodate our demand for cattle in the best way possible and it would be a good idea to invest in Brazilian technology in the field,” he said.
Among the 22 Arab countries, Saudi Arabia is the top buyer of Brazilian goods, totaling over USD 1.5 billion in imports from January to September of this year, and also the one who sends the largest amount of goods to Brazil (over USD 1.7 billion in the same period).
The main products imported by Brazil from Saudi Arabia are fuels, fertilizers, plastic and organic chemical products. Aiming to diversify Saudi exports to Brazil, Khan declared that the Saudi kingdom have proven expertise in many areas.
“We have the petrochemical sector and could expand the relationship with Brazil in this field; we also work in the infrastructure area; and could cooperate in the field of ports and commercial aviation – we are in the early stages of manufacturing of aircrafts for military training,” he explained.
For the future, the diplomat expects increasing cooperation between the two countries, broader perspectives and deeper commercial ties, and a growth in trade in general, not limited to meats. “We need something more advanced and sustainable.”
“We hope that the relationship with the new administration of president Jair Bolsonaro will keep the doors open for us, for potential investments and cooperation with Saudi Arabia, and that it can promote relations of Brazilian companies with our country, so we can boost business and trade relations between our countries. That, instead of drifting apart, the new administration brings Brazil and Saudi Arabia closer. And that the Arab Chamber and the Brazilian commercial sector can enlighten the President-elect on this initiative,” he said.
Khan said that he was honored by the invitation to visit the headquarters of the Arab Chamber in São Paulo. “The Arab Chamber is considered the connection between the Arab world and Latin America in general, and Brazil in particular,” he concluded.
Translated by Sérgio Kakitani