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Brazil may double dairy product exports to Middle East

Brazil may double dairy product exports to Middle East

BRASÍLIA: Brazil may double dairy product exports to the Arab countries next year, according to the president of the Brazilian Association of Milk Producers (Leite Brasil), Jorge Rubez. Of the US$ 78 million the sector generated with exports of milk and dairy products between October last year and September this year, US$ 27.5 million, or 35%, came from the Arabs.

“If we work well, exports to the Arabs may even double next year,” stated Rubez. Sales to the region should help the sector end the year with a trade balance surplus. Historically, the trade balance has always been negative for Brazil.

In the first nine months of 2003, for example, the dairy product sector had a negative balance of US$ 57 million in foreign trade. In the first nine months of this year, the deficit has already dropped to US$ 4 million.

Exports, which totalled US$ 28 million between January and September 2003, reached US$ 57.5 million in the same period this year, according to figures supplied by the National Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA). If recent months are taken into consideration, however, the sector already exports more than it imports.

In September, sales totalled US$ 8 million and purchases US$ 7.2 million, which generated a positive balance of US$ 820,000. The Leite Brasil president believes that 2004 will end with foreign trade close to US$ 100 million.

The sector exports powdered and long life milk, sour cream, yoghurt, curds, whey, butter, condensed mild, and cheese. Exports are done through trading companies in the sector or through large industries like Nestlé, Itambé and Elegê.

Itambé, for example, has already won a United Nations (UN) tender to supply powdered milk to Iraq. The Middle East and North Africa should remain as main destinations for Brazilian dairy products.