Trade commission ‘bullish’ on Brazil after fact-finding mission28 May 2024

The mission went to three major cities in Brazil


Philip Galanis, The Bahamas Trade Commission Chairman

The Bahamas Trade Commission is bullish after a fact-finding mission to Brazil this month, that turned up several key areas for trade expansion with the South American country.

Philip Galanis, the commission’s chairman, told Guardian Business that the commission met with high-level government officials in Brazil over a nine-day mission, including the minister for trade and industry, and officials from the ministry of agriculture and poultry, with the objective of “understanding the amount of trade being conducted between The Bahamas and Brazil.”

The mission went to three major cities in Brazil, including the capital Brasília, where it focused on areas such as agriculture, poultry, and the manufacturing of products that are normally purchased, Galanis said.

He continued: “And then the second leg of our mission was to São Paulo, which is the largest city in Brazil, and from which quite a bit of items are shipped directly to The Bahamas.”

“Unfortunately, a lot of the things, a lot of the products that come from Brazil, go through the United States. And so, it’s very difficult sometimes to ascertain precisely what it is shipped from Brazil, because it’s coming out of the United States. And so it’s normally camouflaged in export numbers from the United States. And so, the primary objective of the mission was really to understand how we can improve the cost of goods that we import to the country, whether there are ways and means to reduce the inflation we import into the country, both by sourcing goods that are less expensive. And secondly, by direct transportation costs to The Bahamas, as opposed to going through a third country.”

The commission met with several entities in São Paulo, such as government agencies, textile manufacturers, and representatives of the construction and building supplies industries.

“For the third leg of our trip, we went to Rio de Janeiro, which is the second largest city in Brazil, where we also source materials mostly through the United States,” said Galanis.

The opportunities for expansion with Brazil are substantial

“We met with the equivalent of perhaps our Small Business Development Centre, an agency that encourages small businesses to export their products outside, and developed a relationship with them to see what we can do to foster more growth.”

Galanis said the opportunities for expansion with Brazil are substantial, and he is “bullish and optimistic” on this developing partnership.

“I think that there are tremendous opportunities. For example, I don’t know if people are aware that Embraer is an airline manufacturer in Brazil. Western Air, for example, uses regional jets that are produced in Brazil. American Airlines operates flights between Miami and Nassau with airplanes manufactured in Brazil.

“Brazil has about eight car manufacturers, including BMW, Fiat, Renault, Volkswagen, and many others, and the only high-end car I think that’s not produced there is Mercedes-Benz.”

The trade opportunities with Brazil are only expected to growth over the next few years, however they may not outstrip the US any time soon, said Galanis, but there is a lot of room for growth.

Meanwhile, Galanis reflected on the recent trade statistics produced by the Bahamas National Statistical Institute (BNSI), that indicate imports are up by 23 percent in 2023.

Galanis waived this off as a continuation of the post-COVID-19 rebound, where the economy is reflating, and said it is just a reflection of how resilient the economy is and how fast it is growing.

Source: Nassau Guardian