Interview with Mr Ivan Ramalho

Face2Face
Mr Ivan Ramalho
Mr Ivan Ramalho
Vice-Minister
Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Federative Republic of Brazil
Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Federative Republic of Brazil

What are your remarks on the hidden export potential of Brazilian fashion industry?

Unmatched beauty of Brazilian models and multiracial characteristics of our population motivates the country to become a centre for disseminating its own fashion styles, marks, brands and clothing trends in this so dynamic and demanding business segment. This really means a great opportunity for expanding our exports to Latin-American countries and other similar markets. The world of fashion was for a long time excessively dependent on what happened in places like Paris, London, New York and Milan, but centers like Sao Paulo in Brazil are now attracting increasing attention on the worldwide fashion calendar. This is a clear asset.

Amongst textile & clothing industries, which sector has the potential for emerging as a high growth sector in the future & why?

As I said, the whole sector is getting even more competitive and diversified, but considering the fact that Brazil is becoming a distinguished cotton producer, I think that those plants focused on cotton clothing may have a great potential for development. Brazil possess plants that produce fibers and synthetic fabrics, industries that have invested considerable amount of money and that are able to furnish raw materials at very competitive conditions. I believe our textile products will meet price and quality of those delivered by the world's main top producers.

On the road to growth, which are the impediments/blocks that the Brazilian textiles & clothing industry is struggling with? How is the Ministry trying to help overcome them?

The sector deserves special consideration in the Brazilian government in general and in the Ministry of Development, in particular, due to its high capacity for the creation of jobs. Labor intensive economic activities like the textile industry make a large contribution in developing economies. It is a very well organized business. Such activeness is expressed by its main corporate syndicate, the Brazilian Textile and Apparel Industry Association (ABIT) that works in close cooperation with the government in all trade negotiations related to the sectors linked to the productive chain of the textile industry. I should say that the main concern in the sector is the sharp increase of imports from Asian countries that raised difficulties in some segments, but the public banks have created mechanisms of funding to deal with the challenges with more investment.

For enhancement of your trade–relations in particular for textile & clothing industry, which countries have the utmost potential, and at Ministry level, which all policies are mooted in this direction?

Brazil is working to increase its trade relations with countries throughout the world. Everyone who examines the performance of Brazilian exports in the last few years - a period in which several trade records were broken - will certainly find out that one of the remarking points of such positive outcomes is precisely the diversification of our exports destiny. For instance, the USA that is our main trade partner and the top market for Brazilian exports buy around 18% of our total exports. It means that around 80% of Brazilian sales are quite well balanced among almost a hundred countries. The Ministry of Development participates in all trade bilateral and multilateral negotiations aiming greater market openness and full and fair access for our products. Brazil currently is engaged with India and South Africa into a Dialog Forum with such purposes (IBAS).

The Ministry of Development and the Brazilian Agency for Exports and Investment are jointly working with ABIT to launch a trade mark that will promote Brazilian textile products abroad: TEXBRASIL specially in countries like South Africa, Germany, Angola, Argentine, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, South Korea, Costa Rica, united Emirates, Spain, EUA, France, Indonesia, India, Italy, Japan Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, Russia, and Venezuela.

What are the Ministry’s efforts on adoption of new technology & trained workforce front?

The Ministry of Development supports any kind of measures aiming to raise the technological level of the productive sector. We have a Secretariat of Industrial Technology and the Brazilian Bank of Development that is also linked to the ministry that usually creates policies and provides funding for investments in innovation and R&D. Brazil has recently enacted fresh legislation concerning innovation, the Innovation Bill and other subjects, so that we can have a better skilled workforce by special professional training programs in many sectors.

How do you envisage Brazil’s role in the global textile industry five years from now?

Brazilian textile and clothing industry will certainly be even more qualified to take part in this globalized and competitive world. The sector is continuously increasing productivity, local and federal authorities are well aware of its importance. The companies are investing in modern machinery and modernization of production techniques. The ongoing international trade deals with several blocs may create greater opportunities and new space for Brazilian exports.

Your parting note to all our readers across the globe who include investors & importers –

You are all welcome to Brazil. Do the same as many investors are currently doing and enjoying the opportunities that a developing economy like India provides. Foreign investment is very high, the economy is expanding and Brazilian textile and clothing industry as one of our main economic sector has a clear role to play in this healthy process.

Published on: 10/03/2008

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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