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Brazilian exports to Kuwait rise in readiness for Ramadan

Brazil exports many of the foods served at Iftar, the meal eaten after sunset during Ramadan Pexels/Michael Burrows
Brazil exports many of the foods served at Iftar, the meal eaten after sunset during Ramadan
  • Kuwait turns to Brazil for Iftar
  • November volumes up five-fold
  • Ambassadors strengthen ties

With Ramadan around the corner, trade between Kuwait and Brazil has been brisk – the Latin American country plays an important role in supplying the food needed for Iftar, the fast-breaking evening meal that Muslims enjoy during the holy month.

Brazilian exports to the Gulf country spiked in November as Muslim importers began to prepare for Ramadan, which begins next month.

According to official figures shared with AGBI by the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (ABCC), November export volumes soared to levels five times that of the previous month.

The net weight of exports – dominated by meat, fish, fruit and vegetables – increased to nearly 54 million kilogrammes, compared to less than nine million kg in October and 11 million kg in December.

“The Ramadan celebration is important for the trade between the two countries because it heavily raises the demand for foodstuffs,” said Tamer Mansour, secretary general of the ABCC.

“The Muslim importers usually begin the purchases for Ramadan a few months before the holiday so the shipments from Brazil got a spike in November,” he said.

Tamer Mansour, secretary general of the ABCC, said the relationship is ‘complementary’

Food trade plays a major role in Brazil-Kuwait relations and totalled more than $580 million in 2023, with Brazilian exports making up $340 million.

The official figures show that Brazilian exports rose by just under 2 percent last year, while Kuwait’s exports of nearly $241 million fell by 12 percent compared to 2022.

Mansour described the relationship as “complementary and balanced”, saying that while Brazil supports food security efforts in the Gulf state, Kuwait is a major supplier of crude oil, as well as polymers and sulphur compounds.

“That’s all important for Brazil to have an energy supply essential to keep its economy active,” he said.

Strong ties

Brazil appointed a new ambassador to Kuwait last month.

Rodrigo Gabsch said in comments published by the Brazil-Arab News Agency that he is seeking to expand trade and investment relations between the two nations. 

He said investment opportunities for Kuwaitis exist in Brazil’s agriculture industry.

According to Gabsch, Kuwait’s plan to build new smart cities and logistics corridors offers potential to increase trade in goods and services. 

“Civil construction and ancillary goods and services are something that, in my opinion, is worth exploring,” he said.

Kuwait’s ambassador to Brazil, Talal Al-Mansour, told the news agency that bilateral trade could – and should – be diversified away from Kuwaiti oil and Brazilian foodstuff. 

He also said that talks for an agreement between Mercosur – a South American trade bloc consisting of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay – and the GCC should be resumed. 

“We have to do this, because the two sides have much to gain,” he said.

According to the ABCC, Brazilian exports to the wider Arab world rose by 9 percent during the first 10 months of 2023, to total nearly $16 billion, while Brazilian imports reached $9 billion.

Saudi Arabia was Brazil’s biggest customer in the region with imports amounting to more than $2.6 billion, followed by the UAE ($2.5 billion) and Egypt ($1.9 billion), with Kuwait fifth.

Saudi Arabia also led the region on Brazilian imports worth nearly $3 billion.

Osmar Chohfi, president of ABCC, highlighted “strong and expanding” trade relations between Brazil and the Arab world.

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