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Chamber of Commerce eyes stronger ties with Brazil
Cooperation protocol with Arab Brazilian Chamber seeks to eliminate need for visas for business trips
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The Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture of Beirut (CCIAB) signed a cooperation protocol Thursday (June 21) with the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce.

The agreement aims to support mutual business cooperation.

“For now, the main objective behind the protocol is to do away with the need for visas for Lebanese businessmen visiting Brazil,” said Rabih Sabra, the director general of the CCIAB. He said that visa procedures take up to six weeks, a long time for a business trip.

The protocol also aims to enhance the flow of Lebanese goods and services to South America’s Mercusor Trading Bloc, a grouping of states that includes Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
“Our key objective is to achieve a free trade agreement with the Mercusor bloc, which has a huge Lebanese Diaspora,” Sabra said. These markets, especially Brazil, would make a good export market for Lebanese products, mainly agro food, wine, and services in the ICT sector, he said.

In 2006, then Minister of Economy and Trade, Mohammed Safadi, submitted a request for a free trade agreement with the trading bloc. Sabra said that official procedures within the Mercusor bloc countries have delayed the realization of the deal. In 2011, Lebanon’s exports to Brazil stood at $3 million.

According to Sabra, Lebanese exports into these countries is hampered by high customs duties and transportation costs. “Transportation costs to these markets are very high because limited quantities are being exported, but once the trade flow is enhanced, these costs will ultimately come down.”

Reported by Hanadi Chami
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Date Posted: Jun 22, 2012