ABU DHABI: Brazil-UAE bilateral trade is set to increase this year with the intensified business transactions, a top Brazilian diplomat said.

“The bilateral trade stood at $2.6 billion in 2018, however, the first eight months of 2019 have already witnessed $2 billion trade transactions. This means 2019 trade volumes will surpass the 2018 figures,” Fernando Luis Lemos Igreja, the Brazilian Ambassador to the UAE, told the Emirates News Agency, WAM.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will begin his three-day state visit to the UAE today. It is his first state visit to the Arab world since he became president in January 2019.

Bolsonaro will open the Brazil-UAE Business Forum in Abu Dhabi on Sunday morning, Igreja said.

The forum will showcase investment opportunities in both countries, as more than 100 Brazilian business persons have already reached the UAE to attend the forum.

“We expect the same number of UAE business persons also at the forum,” the ambassador said.

Sugar, poultry, meat and aircraft spare parts are the major exports from Brazil to the UAE, whereas fertiliser for agriculture is the main export from the UAE to Brazil, he explained.

Two daily flights operated by Emirates from Dubai to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil are the only direct flights from the UAE to Latin America. “Therefore, Brazil acts as a gateway to Latin America for the UAE,” he said.

The UAE and Brazil signed in 2018 bilateral agreements on avoidance of double taxation and facilitating investments.

Among the Brazilian companies operating in the UAE is BRF, one of the largest food companies in the world, with products under brands that include Sadia, Banvit, Hilal, Perdix and many others.

The BRF has the biggest meat processing plant in the Middle East region in Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi, KIZAD, which employs 600 people.

Igreja said that more such Brazilian companies are expected to enter the UAE market soon, adding that the innovation communities in the two countries also “have a close link.”

He mentioned that a Brazilian start-up won the top prize at GITEX Future Stars, the region’s biggest start-up pitch competition.

Key2Enable, an Abu Dhabi-based start-up bringing digital accessibility to People of Determination, won the prize ‘Supernova Challenge’ at GITEX in Dubai this month, the ambassador said.

The same start-up had won the ‘Entrepreneur Hero award’ at the EdTech Innovation Startup Competition 2018, which was held in Abu Dhabi.

It was a global competition organised by Krypto Labs, an Abu Dhabi-based innovation hub, for start-ups that push the frontiers of transformation in education technology.

Key2Enbale won a grant of $150,000 and the opportunity to join the Krypto Lab’s incubator programme.