(JNS.org) Israeli Economy Minister Eli Cohen met last week with his Brazilian counterpart, Marcos Pereira, for talks on boosting trade between the Jewish state and the South American nation.
Brazil’s trade minister visited Israel for the first time and was joined by a delegation of 15 senior government officials. Brazil has the world’s seventh-largest economy.
In their meeting, Cohen and Pereira discussed advancing various cooperative economic projects, and announced a call for joint industrial research and development proposals from Israeli and Brazilian companies.
“Markets in Latin America and Brazil tend to be particularly challenging for Israeli companies, but have high potential for cooperation,” Cohen said.
“The Israel-MERCOSUL Free Trade Area Agreement positions Israel as the only non-Latin American country which benefits from preferential access to the Brazilian market. This is an important instrument for Israeli companies, along with the desire of both countries to bolster cooperation,” he added.
Israeli-Brazilian trade reached $1.12 billion in 2016. During the first five months of 2017, Israel exported $288 million worth of goods to Brazil, a 31-percent increase from the same period last year.
Brazilian Health Minister Ricardo Barros visited Israel earlier this year. The Israeli-Brazilian meetings follow a diplomatic dispute in 2016 surrounding former settlement movement leader Dani Dayan’s appointment as Israel’s ambassador to the South American country. Brazil refused to accept Dayan’s appointment, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reassigned Dayan as Israel’s consul general in New York.