When representatives of the Middle East meet this week in Beirut for the Arab Investor Conference, only one foreign country will have a seat at the table: Uruguay.
Thanks to the Embassy of Lebanon, Uruguay was asked to attend the conference which attracts 500 Arab businessmen from the worlds of banking, manufacturing, trade, real estate and tourism.
According to UYPress, Chancellor Luis Almagro is leading the Uruguay delegation to seek business opportunities throughout the Middle East, a region where Argentina and Uruguay have tremendous export potential. While Lebanese officials view Uruguay as a prime entry point for South American expansion, Lebanon has a similar appeal for exporters looking to reach 350 million consumers in the 22 countries of the Middle East.
Even though Arab countries are the greatest net importers of grains in the world, Argentina and Uruguay have failed to tap those markets for several reasons: lack of market knowledge, prioritization of other markets, challenging logistics and perceived complexity of Halal certification. To date, Brazil is the only regional country that has prioritized exports to the Middle East, a relationship that began when the Dubai Chamber first visited Sao Paulo on a trade mission in 1997.
Uruguay’s presence at this week’s Arab Investor Conference will be a major step forward in strengthening ties between the Southern Cone and the Middle East. Whatever deals made and lessons learned will be watched closely by Argentina, as both countries seek to reduce their dependence on the economic fluctuations and fortunes of North America. (Full Story in Spanish)
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