By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Business entities from Brazil and Argentina have decided to create the Brazil-Argentina Business Council (CEMBRAR) to increase trade and stimulate common policies between the two governments. The meeting between Brazil’s National Industry Confederation (CNI) and Argentina’s Industrial Union (UIA) seek to ease some of the tension among Mercosur partners, currently facing an institutional crisis.
“Investments are a key channel to expand production capacity, increase bilateral trade, stimulate innovative activities and create jobs,” CNI President, Robson Braga de Andrade was quoted as saying in the entity’s webpage.
According to CNI the Council was created to increase and strengthen economic integration between the two economies. With the agreement, the industrial sectors of the two countries will exchange information on industrial and trade policies, identify trade and investment opportunities, articulate advocacy of sectors with governments, and work together within Mercosur. The representatives of the two entities are expected to meet at least once a year.
Between 2008 and 2011, Brazil was the largest foreign investor in Argentina, registering an average annual flow of US$1 billion. Starting in 2012, however, the trade between the two countries fell by seventy percent, to an annual average of US$300 million. Today Brazil is the fourth largest investor in Argentina, after the United States, Spain and the Netherlands.
Brazilian exports to Argentina also have been declining. From 2006 to 2015, the participation of Brazilian exports to Argentina fell from 34.4 percent to 22.2 percent. In 2015, Brazil exported US$12.8 billion to Argentina – the lowest participation in a decade. Data shows that during the first half of 2016, Brazilian exports to Argentina continue to decline, falling by 1.77 percent over the same period 2015.
Now Brazilian businessmen seek to improve an agreement between the two countries to avoid double taxation, conclude agreement to liberalize public procurement in Mercosur, and establish a fund to finance public-private projects, among other issues.