Pakistan and Brazil relations ushering towards new dimensions…

The establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Brazil were established on the immediate aftermath of the Pakistani independence, in 1947. That was a first diplomatic connection between the new South Asian state and Latin America. Brazilian and Pakistani ties were strengthened shortly after that, with Pakistan opening its first Embassy in Latin America in Rio de Janeiro, in 1951, and Brazil being the first Latin American country to establish an Embassy in Karachi, the following year. Brazil was the 30th country to establish an Embassy in Karachi. Relations between both the countries have zero issues and friendly image. Brazil is keen to enhance good relations with Pakistan. Trade, education, agriculture are the key areas which could promote ties between both the countries. Brazil considers Pakistan an important country and wants to promote relations in areas of trade, agriculture, defense, tourism, and education. Brazil granted 10 scholarships to Pakistani students in 2011. Pakistan and Brazil are moving forward in further deepening their bilateral relations in all fields, especially in commerce and trade. Bilateral trade between Pakistan and Brazil has increased over the last four years by 100 percent from $ 225 million in 2013-14 to $ 449 million in 2016-17. Presently, Pakistan has a negative trade balance with Brazil amounting to -$ 359 million in FY17 with exports of $ 44.5 million and imports of $ 404 million. Pakistan’s main exports to Brazil are in articles of apparel, home textiles, surgical goods, cotton fabrics and yarn, articles of cutlery and sports goods whereas Pakistan’s main imports are in Soybeans, raw cotton, iron, and steel, soybean oil, and machinery.

Brazil and Pakistan can be proved to be a hub for one another to achieve big trade opportunities in the vast markets of South America and central Asia. The investors of Brazil should come forward and invest in various sectors in Pakistan as it is in the common interest of both the countries. Local industrialists should also need to show interest in order to explore vast markets of Brazil and rest of South America for their top quality products. Recently the Ambassador Of Brazil His Excellency Claudio Raja Gabaglia Lins, during his visit to the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), said that Pakistan and Brazil have great potential to enhance cooperation in private sectors and we need to work in promoting bilateral trade between the two countries. Brazil has improved its agriculture productivity through modern technology, and Pakistan could modernize its agriculture sector by enhancing cooperation with Brazil, he added. Pakistan’s geographical location is very important and Brazilian investors should focus on Pakistan for investment and joint ventures. Pakistan has to establish strong connectivity between the private sectors of both countries in order to further improve bilateral trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Brazil. Marble, textile products, leather and leather products, pharmaceutical, surgical instruments and agro products including rice, pulses, fruits, and vegetables could find a good market in Brazil. The scope of relations between the two countries is quite vast. The need is to collaborate, extend support and establish relations in areas of defense production. Brazil has a generally more high-tech defense industry than Pakistan, but observers say greater industry cooperation could be mutually beneficial. Brazil-Pakistan defense ties seem to be driven by a commercial interest but have a broader political-strategic side. Brazilian interest in the Pakistani defense market fits into the broad strategy of securing buyers for the country as well as growing defense industry which is a strategic priority to stimulate a technologically advanced base for economic growth. Brazil and Pakistan are coalition partners in numerous multilateral negotiations, including the liberalization of international trade (G-20 coalition and Group of Cairns at the World Trade Organization), negotiations on climate change (G-77 countries) and talks on international monetary and development issues (Group of 24). Pakistan and Brazil have recently established the Pakistan-Brazil Business Forum (PBBF) to further fortify trade and business ties between the two countries. The PBBF will be headquartered in Pakistan’s capital and will have its sub-offices located in other parts of the country as well as in Brazil. The new organization will focus on boosting bilateral trade between Pakistan and Brazil through various initiatives. President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry Ghazanfar Bilour has expressed his satisfaction over this new initiative, he said “We will play a meaningful role in suggesting practical solutions worthy of serious consideration at policy-making level to accelerate the business activities as the current level of trade between the two countries is dismal.” Recognising the importance of this region, the government of Pakistan has geared up efforts with more pace to strengthen economic ties with countries like Brazil. In an effort to bring a positive change in the lives of poor Pakistanis, Brazil has offered technical support in the social sector development, which calls on Pakistani private sector to come forward and avail multiple opportunities of mutual trade between Brazil and Pakistan. Brazil is the 2nd largest nation of Halal meat exporter in the world. Pakistan can enhance its relations in this sector as well.

The most suitable option for Pakistan’s exports to Brazil could be in the field of agriculture. As Brazil’s agriculture contributes only 3.5% to GDP for which Brazil depends upon other MERCOSUR countries. Pakistan has a bright option to initiate export of agricultural commodities which Brazil needs, subject to meeting its own demand before. Although, all South American countries rely mainly on United States of America, China and their own trading bloc the MERCOSUR, yet Pakistan could have win their confidence by providing competitive and cheap products. Provision of a conducive environment is also an important pre-requisite for trade.

Published in Melange Int. Magazine in July 2018.

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About Grate 15 Articles
Writer is Staff Reporter Mélange for Europe & Coordinator Center of Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR).