The Philippine Embassy in Brasilia Charge d’ affaires, ad interim Ms. Leilani S. Feliciano joined all the ASEAN Heads of Diplomatic Missions in Brasilia under the ASEAN Committee in Brasilia (ACB) and ACB Working Group for an Official Visit to the Brazilian state of Maranhao upon the invitation of Maranhao Governor Flavio Dino de Castro e Costa, from 20- 23 September 2021.
The ACB Heads of Diplomatic Missions visited Sao Luis, the capital city of Maranhao, where they met with the state officials, port authority officials and business people and entrepreneurs from the state of Maranhao, went on museum and port visits, and visited Lencois, the tourist attraction of the state of Maranhao and its famous sand dunes.
The program of the ASEAN Committee in Brasilia Heads of Diplomatic Missions’ three-day visit to Maranhao involved the following activities (Attached is the Program of Activities, for information and reference):
- Sightseeing Visit of ASEAN Committee in Brasilia Heads of Missions to the Museum of Dance or the Cafua dos Merces e a Casa for Tambor de Crioula and the Parade in Praia Grande with Cazumbas do Bumba-Meu-Boi de Santa Fe, September 20;
- Official Visit to Deputy Governor Carlos Brandão and to President of Empresa Maranhense de Administração Portuária (EMAP), Ted Lago, at Porto do Itaqui;
- Visit to the Porto do Itaqui, September 21;
- ACB Heads of Diplomatic Missions’ Meeting with Deputy Governor Brandao and Brazilian companies in Maranhao, September 21;
- Visit to the Palace Museum dos Leoes, September 21;
- ACB Heads of Diplomatic Missions’ Meeting with Maranhao Governor Flavio Dino de Castro e Costa, September 21; and
- ACB Heads of Diplomatic Missions’ Trip to the Lencois Maranhenses National Park (Lencois’ tourist attraction, the sand dunes) on September 22.
The following ASEAN Committee in Brasilia’s Heads of Diplomatic Missions who participated in Official Visit to Maranhao were H.E. Mrs. Pham Thi Kim Hoa, Ambassador of Viet Nam; 2) H.E. Mr. Edi Yusup (ACB Chairperson), Ambassador of Indonesia; 3) H.E. Mr. Myo Tint, Ambassador of Myanmar; 4) Hon. Ms. Leilani S. Feliciano, Charge d’affaires, a.i.. Embassy of the Philippines; 5) H.E. Desmong Ng, Ambassador of Singapore; and 6) H.E. Ms. Nitivadee Manitkul, Ambassador of Thailand. H.E. Mr. Lim Juay Jim, Ambassador of Malaysia was not able to join the ASEAN activity due to prior engagement.
ASEAN Committee in Brasilia’s Courtesy Call on Maranhao Deputy Governor Carlos Brandão and EMAP President/CEO Ted Lago and visit at Porto do Itaqui, September 21
ASEAN Committee in Brasilia’s Heads of Diplomatic Missions called on Maranhao Deputy Governor Carlos Brandão and President & CEO of Empresa Maranhense de Administração Portuária (EMAP), Ted Lago, at Porto do Itaqui on September 21. During this visit and meeting, Deputy Governor Brandao, CEO Lago and other officials presented PP presentations on the economic and port potentials of Maranhão particularly the Porto da Itaqui and Porto Alomar, and the infrastructure that the state has been able to create to enable the export of products, mainly soybeans and grains which are sent to Asian countries.
Deputy Governor Brandao and EMAP CEO Lago enjoined the ASEAN Ambassadors and other countries in Asia to invest in the port sector of Maranhao. EMAP CEO Lago stated that this is a great opportunity to present the potential of Itaqui Port, which in 2020 set a record with the handling of 25.3 million tons of cargo. EMAP CEO Lago informed that they are encouraging private sector investments in Porto do Itaqui infrastructure from ASEAN countries. He added that EMAP is currently expanding its terminals and constructing new structures, and increasing the efficiency and capacity of railroad handling liquid bulk, containers and Itaqui polyglonal.
On behalf of the ASEAN Committee in Brasilia, ACB Chairman Indonesian Embassy Edi Yusup presented Deputy Governor Brandao with the ACB’s Plaque of Appreciation and expressed appreciation to him and EMAP CEO Lago for organizing the meeting and visit to Porto da Itaqui. Likewise, all ACB Heads of Diplomatic Missions presented their tokens of appreciation to Deputy Governor Brandao and EMAP CEO Lago. The ACB Heads of Diplomatic Missions were then brought to Porto of Itaqui where Deputy Governor Brandao and EMAP CEO Lago showed Maranhao’s premiere port operations.
ACB Heads of Diplomatic Missions’ Meeting with Deputy Governor Brandao and Brazilian companies in Maranhao, September 21
The ACB Heads of Diplomatic Missions participated in a meeting with the Deputy Governor Brandao, Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Energy (Seinc), Simplício Araújo and businessmen and entrepreneurs from Maranhao in the afternoon of September 21 at Palácio dos Leões. During this meeting, Deputy Governor Brandao delivered a speech and Secretary Araujo presented the local investment opportunities in Maranhao to the ACB.
Deputy Governor Brandao informed the ACB that the Maranhao state government endeavours to make Maranhao in every Brazilian states’ and other countries’ economic radar because of its dynamic port development and great potentials for exporting grains with its annual production of 5.4 million tons of grain which meets domestic markets’ needs. He emphasized that its cattle raising has met international standards with beef, poultry and pork production chain having grown by 30% in the last six years. It has railways and trains that can reach other Brazilian states.
The Maranhao state government has modified the state law to attract more foreign direct investments (FDIs) by streamlining procedures so that foreign businesses could be opened in six hours or less. They also established a project called Zero Debt where businesses are encouraged to negotiate for zero debt. They are also allowed to negotiate debt payment by five years. He added that the state has huge potentials with its political and legal security and for being a safe haven for foreign investments. Deputy Governor Brandao stated that he wants to attract foreign investments and tourism to Maranhao. They have sent economic missions since 2015 to China, Singapore and Vietnam. He looks forward to expanding business opportunities and trading with and visiting other ASEAN countries. He expressed the hope of expanding commercial ties and increasing trade with ASEAN countries.
Secretary of Trade and Industry Araujo introduced Maranhao business people and entrepreneurs, specifically food companies and the business opportunities that are available, to the ACB Heads of Diplomatic Missions. He introduced companies that have international experience in exporting and possessing international certification attesting to world-class standards. Among the entrepreneurs who presented their products were the director of the artisan biscuit brand, Zé Pereira (a handcrafted biscuit produced here in São Luís do Maranhão), Isabela Murad who expressed desire to export to Asian countries. Other Maranhao-made food products that were promoted included Gaia Amazon jams and jellies, Nippon Pimentas hot sauces and NutriChef cake and wheat flours, among others.
Other Government officials who participated in said business meeting were the Secretary of State for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (Sagrima), Sérgio Delmiro; the President of the Board of Trade of the State of Maranhão (Jucema), Sérgio Sombra; the president of the Federation of Agriculture and Livestock of the State of Maranhão (Faema), Raimundo Coelho; the president of the Federation of Industries of the State of Maranhão (Fiema), Edilson Baldez; and entrepreneurs from Maranhão.
The ACB Heads of Diplomatic Missions were introduced to the group and were invited to deliver their speeches and the potential business opportunities between their respective countries with Brazil, particularly with Maranhao. ACB Chairman Indonesian Ambassador Yusup expressed, on behalf of ACB, his appreciation for the invitation of the Deputy Governor. He stressed that ASEAN is the third largest economy in Asia and fifth in the world with a USD3 trillion Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and a dynamic region. He shared that Brazilian Foreign Minister Carlos Albert Franca met with the ASEAN Foreign Ministers in August 2021 and agreed to cooperate in the areas of Renewable Energy, Agriculture Cooperation and Socio Cultural Cooperation. He informed the body that trade relations between ASEAN and Brazil grew from USD16 billion in 2011 to USD19.7 billion in 2020.
Philippine Embassy in Brasilia CDA Feliciano concurred with ACB Chairman in expressing the appreciation of the ACB to Deputy Governor Brandao and was impressed by the food products presented by Maranhao business people and entrepreneurs. Some of the products might suit the Filipino taste are the hot sauces, jams and jellies, and the artisanal biscuits. She informed the body Brazil is Philippines largest trading partner in the Latin American region. Total bilateral trade between the Philippines and Brazil steadily grew for the past three years, from USD938 million in 2018, USD1.068 billion in 2019 and USD840 million in 2020. Bilateral trade declined last year due to the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic. She stated that the Philippines is the largest beef importing ASEAN country and also imports a significant amount of poultry from Brazil. The Philippines imports iron ores and concentrates and copper ores and concentrates apart from wheat and petroleum oils and crude from Brazil. She informed the body that the Philippines looks forward to diversifying its exports to Brazil by introducing more manufactured and world class products such as PH South Sea pearls, PH world class furniture and PH dried mangoes.
The Philippines also seeks to enhance economic and business cooperation with heightened interaction between both countries’ business and industries through participation in each others’ international fairs and exhibitions, inviting Brazilian businessmen to the Philippines’ Manila FAME and IFEX international exhibitions. She also informed the body that the Philippines has a significant investment in Brazil with the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. , a Philippine company, in Tecon Suape in Pernambuco amounting to USD200 million. Investments from Brazil to the Philippines includes Brazilian pharmaceutical company, Europharma. Finally, she stated that the Philippines wishes to increase its exports to Brazil particularly IT products, automotive parts, electrical and electronic equipment, personal care products, and others. Finally, she also promoted the Philippines to adventurous Brazilian travellers as the world’s premiere diving destination and invited them to visit the Philippines after the pandemic is controlled.
ACB Heads of Diplomatic Missions’ Meeting with Maranhao Governor Flavio Dino de Castro e Costa, September 21
In the evening of September 21, the ACB Heads of Diplomatic Missions paid a courtesy call on Maranhao Governor Flávio Dino de Castro e Costa and Deputy Governor Carlos Brandão at the Palace. dos Leoes. Governor Dino explained the changes that he has made to make the state of Maranhao more enticing to foreign investors, assisted their local entrepreneurs through loans, ensured the health and well-being of its people by providing social assistance and loans during the pandemic and a very high rate of vaccination leading to zero deaths for the past week. He expressed his desire to enhance business opportunities and trade with and invite foreign investments from ASEAN countries with Maranhao.
In response, all the ACB Heads of Diplomatic Missions echoed their earlier sentiments and extended their appreciation for the hospitality and generosity that the Governor accorded and showed to them. ACB Chairman Ambassafor Yusup presented Governor Dino with the ASEAN Plaque of Appreciation followed by ACB Heads of Diplomatic Missions presenting their tokens of appreciation to the governor. In response, Governor Dino presented the ACB Ambassadors with tokens of his appreciation. END