Brazil aims to double UAE trade to $5.6bn in five years

Latin America's largest economy wants to attract investments in its infrastructure sector from the Emirates

A cargo port in Brazil, which plans to boost its trade with the UAE. Carla Carniel / Reuters
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Brazil plans to double the value of its bilateral trade with the UAE to $5.6 billion in the next five years, its vice president has said.

It is exploring ways to boost investments from the Emirates into Brazilian infrastructure projects, said Hamilton Mourão.

“This partnership has to be strengthened” and $2.8 billion worth of trade between the two countries by the end of 2020 can be further improved, he told a press conference on Sunday in Dubai.

“If we deepen this [trade relation], the $2.8bn in four or five years will become double to $5.6bn.”

Trade between the two countries has grown despite disruption caused by the pandemic in the last two years. There is scope for further growth as more “agreements and opportunities” are still to be explored, Mr Mourão told the UAE-Brazil Economic Sustainability Forum.

“Our trade exchange was barely affected by the pandemic and has shown a strong recovery in 2021, with trade flows jumping 33 per cent during the first eight months of the year”, he said.

The UAE, the tourism and commercial hub of the Middle East, is deepening its trade ties with the nations across the globe in an attempt to increase growth in the next 50 years. The country started talks on comprehensive economic partnership agreements with India and Indonesia last month and is seeking to bolster partnerships with more countries.

The UAE's non-oil foreign trade last year reached Dh1.4 trillion ($381.47bn). China retained its top rank as the main trading partner of the UAE, with the value of bilateral trade reaching Dh174bn, followed by Saudi Arabia at Dh104bn and India with Dh102.5bn, data released by the Federal Centre for Competitiveness and Statistics in September showed.

Trade ties between the UAE and Brazil, the largest economy in Latin America, have also “undergone significant development” in recent years, Minister of Economy Abdulla Bin Touq told the summit.

He said the potential for growth is enormous and the UAE is particularly interested in jointly exploring “untapped opportunities in sustainability”.

“Given Brazil’s advanced capabilities in AgTech [agriculture technology], vast and fertile arable land, the availability of water and skilled labour in agriculture and livestock breeding, food security is already a key focus area in UAE-Brazil cooperation,” he added.

Although Brazil’s agricultural industry is key focus of trade relations between the two nations much of the potential of the country's food and beverage sector remains “untapped”, Mariam Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment told the forum.

The figures for the first three months of the year reveal the significance of the bilateral trade of the two countries. The value of trade between Brazil and UAE reached $431 million at the end of the first quarter of 2021, with the UAE being the fourth main destination of Brazilian exports among Arab states and sixth biggest source of Brazilian imports, she said.

“Food and agricultural products represent a main plank of this trade,” she added. “By exploring these areas, we can improve the prospects of Brazil’s food exporters and go a long way in meeting the pillars and goals of UAE’s National food Security Strategy 2051.”

The UAE is also a significant investor in the Brazilian economy, with more than $10bn invested largely in infrastructure and energy sector projects.

“The question of investment is very important for us In Brazil [as] the Brazilian government does not have enough space in our budget for all the investment that we need,” Mr Mourão said.

Brazil launched a public-private partnership programme four years ago, which includes rail, roads, ports, airports, transmission lines and power projects. It is now pursuing investors, he added.

“There’s a lot of room for investment”, which will yield good returns, Mr Mourão said.

“We know that [the] UAE has some admirable funds with great capacity invested around the world. We have been talking to each other about this.”

The UAE attracted nearly $20bn in foreign direct investment last year, a 44 per cent surge, despite the pandemic. It aims to double the size of its economy in the next decade to Dh3 trillion. There is scope for Brazilian companies to be a part of the UAE’s growth story, Mr bin Touq said.

Brazilian businesses and investors should “explore opportunities in our markets and engage with their UAE counterparts to pursue fruitful partnerships, which can contribute to the UAE-Brazil ties”, the minister said.

“Transformational partnerships are the need of the hour and lets us build back together for a better, brighter tomorrow.”

There is huge scope of investments in the UAE amid the continuing modernisation of the country’s economy and the government incentives, including 100 per cent ownership of companies for foreign investors.

The UAE’s recent announcement of the ‘Projects of the 50,’ that opens up several key sectors including entrepreneurship, advanced skills, digital economy, space and advanced technologies, positions the country as a “land of opportunities and a global incubator for bold and successful ideas”, Mr bin Touq said.

Updated: October 03, 2021, 5:08 PM