“Sمo Paulo – Brazil and Egypt may expand their business in the textile area, also with an exchange of the different kinds of cotton produced in each country. This was one of the main conclusions of the “Brazil-Egypt Bilateral Seminar: from Cotton to Garments”, which took place yesterday (22) at the offices of the Brazilian Textile and Apparel Industry Association (Abit), in Sمo Paulo. “There is a great possibility of exchanging Brazilian medium staple cotton for long extra long staple Egyptian cotton, for which the Arab country is of international renown and of which it is a great supplier,” stated the superintendent director at Abit, Fernando Pimentel .To take the first steps in negotiations, the vice-president at the Brazilian Association of Cotton Producers (Abrapa), Haroldo Rodrigues Cunha, and the commercial consul of Egypt in Sمo Paulo, Mohamed Bakry, intends to organize a visit by Egyptian businessmen to Brazil. “They may see the harvest, learn about the Brazilian export system and we may then establish the first contacts,” stated Cunha .The Egyptian raw material is already imported by Brazil. Brazilian cotton, however, is not yet exported to the Arab country. “Egypt does not produce medium and short staple cotton and is interested in importing the product from Brazil,” stated Bakry. According to him, his country purchases these varieties of cotton from other suppliers. To start exports, representatives of the Egyptian government must come to Brazil to analyse the product and learn about the area in the country in which cotton is grown . “In the first half of this year, Brazilian imports of Egyptian cotton totalled US$ 2.43 million, an increase of 132% when compared to the same period last year. Purchases of Egyptian cotton threads totalled US$ 1.5 million, growth of 37.8%. “There might not yet be significant business due to the lack of knowledge of the produce of each country, of trade and of what the needs of the Egyptian industry are,” stated Cunha .According to him, the Egyptian industry may use Brazilian cotton in blends. “Our cotton is sold by great international traders and it is just a matter of time and knowledge. I believe that there is certainly good potential for the future,” added Cunha .According to Pimentel, trade relations between both countries are being built at meetings like the seminar that took place yesterday, which make businessmen seek other opportunities. “They are both developing countries. Brazil has a strong domestic market with great potential for growth. Egypt, in turn, has a series of trade preference agreements, which generate access to important consumer blocs,” he said .The seminar also counted on the participation of the secretary general at the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, Michel Alaby, who discussed the agreement that Egypt and the Mercosur, the economic bloc that includes Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, are negotiating and that should simplify trade relations. He also stated that the Arab country has a developed industry and is a great supplier of services to the countries of the Gulf .Apart from Egypt, Alaby spoke about the potential of the Arab countries in general, which have a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$ 1.3 trillion and are the main buyers of Brazilian sugar and are in the second place in purchases of aircraft, food and beverages . >Brazilian potential . “The 2005/2006 Brazilian cotton crops should total 1 million tonnes, being the export forecast 392,000 tonnes. The main importers of the Brazilian commodity are China, Pakistan and Indonesia. Brazil is the 5th greatest producer and the 6th main exporter of cotton .According to Cunha, the country may become the greatest cotton supplier in the world. “Of the great producers, few have the possibility of expanding the area on which they grow cotton. We are the only country in the world with the possibility of doubling our production,” he said. He also stated that it is possible to advance in the areas of soy and maize crops without the occupation or devastation or new areas .”strong>White gold”/strong> . “During the meeting, Abdel Mansour, the president of trading company Lotas, which has imported the Egyptian raw material since 1993, stated that Egyptian cotton is of such importance to the country that it is known as “white gold” as it is rare and presents different characteristics from other cotton, among them texture, light weight and durability .According to Bakry, the Arab country is the only place in the world with appropriate climate and soil for the cultivation of this kind of material. Due to the great recognition of Egyptian cotton on the foreign market, the local government and cotton export associations have adopted a logo to avoid forgery and to provide greater product safety .Mansour also stated that the secrets for the maintenance of Egyptian cotton quality are in the strict government policies, which prohibit the trade of seeds and, aligned to the fact that planting and harvest are manual, guaranteeing the plucking only of ripe flowers. “Brazil is still a new market for Egyptian cotton,” he said .According to the executive, the production of Egyptian cotton in the 2005 crop reached 273,000 tonnes, in a cultivated area of 294,000 hectares. Egypt exports 50% of its cotton production, mainly to Europe, the United States and Japan .Source: Brazil-Arab News Agency .