Brazilian Ambassador Cezar Amaral shares trade data between his country and Jamaica with Marlene Parker, senior director of research and financial services at the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), at a meeting of the agency's trade policy committee where Amaral made a presentation on how Jamaican businesses can tap into the Brazilian market. - Contributed
Brazil's trade with Jamaica last year totalled US$155.8 million and its resident diplomat is projecting a 22 per cent increase in exports from that country in 2006.
"This year exports are targeted to reach US$190 million," Brazilian ambassador Cezar Amaral told a closed door meeting of top corporate leaders in Kingston.
At the end of September, the Portuguese speaking South American country, whose premier Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva just won a new mandate on the weekend to continue as president of the 188 million population, had traded US$114 million of goods with Jamaica.
By contrast, Jamaica had only done US$7.5 million of business with Brazil, whose economy has been growing, though only by an average of about 2.2 per cent per year - and an estimated 2.5 per cent in 2005 - and its mining, agricultural, and manufacturing sectors have seen some vibrancy to the extent that the United States and other big economies have been reluctant to have it treated in international trade negotiations as a developing country with access to the same market concessions as countries like Jamaica.
The Simpson Miller administration is now in negotiations with Brazilian interests in relation to sugar and ethanol, as Jamaica tries to reshape its cane industry from a loss maker that has been a drain on the treasury for years to an industry that actually earns money.
So far this year, Brazil has traded US$17 million of ethanol with Jamaica, but it is cellphones that has topped the export list with trade valued at US$24 million. Steel was second in line at US$23.6 million, according to figures released by Amaral at the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica's trade policy committee meeting in mid-October.
Amaral said his country had committed technical assistance to Jamaica as it continues to build out its ethanol sector.
Already, the entity Petrojam Ethanol Limited (PEL) is jointly owned by the Jamaican government and Brazilian ethanol firm, Coimex.
The Jamaica Broilers Group will also be importing wet ethanol mainly from Brazil for conversion to anhydrous ethanol and sale in the North American market, as soon as it builds its $1.1 billion plant, expected by May 2007.
Local companies can explore business opportunities with the South American nation through its online trade portal BrazilTradeNet, Amaral told the PSOJ members. The information is also available in English on the website.