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28/01/2016 - 18:48hs

Marcelo Sallum defends enduring relations with Arabs

The president of the Arab Chamber pointed out the importance of long-term contact for the maintenance and expansion of business with Middle East and North Africa countries. The Chamber released extensive activity calendar.

São Paulo – The Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce released this Thursday (28) its activity calendar for 2016. The schedule includes fairs, purchasing projects, seminars, forums and business missions to the Middle East and North Africa. The announcement was made in an event at the organization’s headquarters in the city of São Paulo, to an audience of business owners and executives.

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Sallum: open doors need to remain so

“We need to open up and create opportunities for Brazilian business owners to export. At the same time, we need to find opportunities so the Arabs can place their products here. It’s a relation that needs to be permanent”, emphasized Marcelo Sallum, president of the Arab Chamber, in the event’s opening.

The release of the calendar was done after a lecture by economist Zeina Latif about the outlooks for the Brazilian economy in 2016.

Sallum reminded that it is very common for Brazilian business owners to look to the external market at moments of crisis and to stop attending to the relations once the domestic scenario improves.

“We know that these doors, once opened, need to remain open. The importer, the foreign side, wants an enduring relationship. It’s very important that we open these doors and continue to participate [in actions abroad]”, he pointed out.

As an example, the president of the Arab Chamber underlined the relevance of the participation of Brazilian companies in fairs held in Arab countries. “It’s very important to attend the fairs, to show our products, to take well-trained staff, to bring material preferably in Arabic – if not in Arabic, at least in English –, in order to really be able to sell”, he said.

Sallum said that there are several Brazilian companies that can be cited as examples of success in the Arab countries. “That includes Brazilian construction companies which established themselves there, and I’m not talking about the large contractors, I’m talking about small contractors that identified opportunities in the construction sector in several Gulf countries, as well as companies from the food sector that began by exporting and now they have representative offices and branches established in the Arab world”, he said.

The executive pointed out that the Arab market “is a huge market”. “It’s a market that has a relationship and large appreciation for Brazil and it’s a market that wants to do business with us”, he concluded.


Michel Alaby, CEO of the Arab Chamber, presented the organization’s calendar of activities. He pointed out that the international actions already started with the Chamber’s participation in the Khartoum International Fair, in Sudan, which began on January 25th and will end on February 1st.

Sergio Tomisaki/ANBA

Alaby presented the activities calendar

The next event abroad is the Gulfood, the Middle East’s main food fair, which takes place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from February 21st to the 25th. Toward the end of the year, the Chamber will attend another fair in Dubai, the Big 5, of the construction industry, slated for November 21st to the 24th. In Brazil, the organization will take part in the fair of the São Paulo Supermarket Association (Apas), from May 2nd to the 5th.

The Arab Chamber will also hold a series of lectures, in the city of São Paulo and outside of it. In the São Paulo capital, the organization will host its already traditional cycle of monthly lectures. In the months of April, June, August and September, the Chamber plans to organize road shows with travelling lectures about the Arab world. In May, a special lecture with a renowned economy expert will be held.

In São Paulo, there will also be a series of meetings with representatives of Arab countries, such as the Brazil-Oman Business Seminar, on February 3rd; the Kuwait, Cultural Days on February 19th to 22nd; and two economic forums, one in a partnership with Oman and another with Egypt, on April.

The organization is planning to have a series of business missions to Arab countries. The trips are set for the months of February, May, September and November to Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Jordan, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon and Libya.

From March 19th to 25th, the Chamber will hold the Arab Cultural Week, in Brasília, with a thematic exhibition on “Religious Tolerance and Arab Culture”. The event will have paintings, pictures, books, manuscripts, handicraft and other related items.

In partnership with the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil), two business matchmaking events with Arab importers will be organized, one for the food sector and other for non-food sectors.

In 2016, the organization plans to promote also the first “Arab Chamber Annual Seminar”, an event focused in business with presentation of success cases in exports to the Arab countries.

Sérgio Tomisaki/ANBA

Hannun underlined the work of the Market Intelligence sector


Rubens Hannun, vice president of Foreign Trade at the Arab Chamber, underlined the research and relations work done by the organization so this calendar could be established.

“One of the key players [for this work] is the Market Intelligence unit, which is divided in three sectors: North Africa, Levant and Gulf. They carry the responsibility of understanding completely the businesses in those groups of countries and identify which Brazilian products can attract interest [in these markets]”, he said.

The executive added that for a good negotiation with the Arabs, one must know and respect their costumes.

For further information and registration to the events promoted by the Arab Chamber, contact Natalie Garcia, via phone (11) 3147-4122 or email ngarcia@ccab.org.br.

*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani

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