FAR AWAY FRIENDS

Oman 2014 | DIPLOMACY | GUEST SPEAKER

Michel Temer, Vice-President of Brazil, on the strengthening of relations between Brazil and Oman.

Michel Temer
BIOGRAPHY
Michel Miguel Elias Temer Lulia received a Law degree from the University of São Paulo in 1963, and went on to obtain a PhD in Law from the Catholic University of São Paulo in 1974. From 1984 to 1986 and 1993 to 1994, Temer was State Secretary for Public Security in São Paulo, and was also the State Attorney-General in São Paulo from 1983 to 1984 and again in 1992. Between 1995 and 1997, he was the leader of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) and acted as its President between 2001 and 2010. Before becoming Vice-President of Brazil, Temer was President of the Chamber of Deputies for three non-consecutive terms. He is considered a renowned expert on Brazilian constitutional law.

The Middle East is vital for Brazilian foreign policy. We seek partnerships that are fruitful for all. One can identify this goal in Oman, the largest recipient of Brazilian direct investments in that region. For instance, investments of the industrial complex of Vale in the city of Sohar alone amount to $2 billion. This project gathers economic and social development, creating the expectation that other sectors may follow suit.

During my trip to Oman in Spring 2013, there was a great Omani interest in Brazilian investments. On that occasion, we signed the first bilateral agreements to enhance the relations between our countries. We established the Joint Committee, which has begun to set an agenda for cooperation. HM Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, Head of State and Government of Oman, expressed his wish for a larger Brazilian presence in Oman. As a consequence, we will receive an Omani delegation by the end of 2013 to promote new meetings between entrepreneurs in order to establish partnerships.

I consider that the performance of Brazil abroad is conspicuous by our search for mutual development, with broad benefits for all those involved. We are committed to social and environmental responsibility. The most prominent evidence of these elements is the iron ore plant by Vale in Sohar, in northern Oman, which processes iron ore for distribution in the steel industry in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East itself. The company built a deep-water port capable of receiving the largest container ships in the world. The capacity to receive 9 million tons of steel can be doubled if necessary. And the management model of Vale is remarkable. Besides having been associated with an Omani company to operate in that country, the integrative action between the two cultures is noticeable. This occurs, for example, in staff: out of the 1,200 workers, only 60 (5%) are Brazilian, whereas the majority is comprised of 780 Omanis (65%) and 360 workers of other nationalities (30%). All of them, without exception, are trained to work in the best way possible. Therefore, they attend training courses in Brazil and Japan, where the technology used in the industrial complex was developed. In addition, in order to improve the lives of people in the region, an agreement between Sultan Qaboos University and the University of Viçosa to study local diseases was signed. The results of this work will not be restricted to the company or its employees, being extended to all of Oman's society.

“ In Oman, I found not only great opportunities, but also a welcoming nation with ancient traditions and lush landscapes. "

The Sohar complex is a model for new experiences. Therefore, in my delegation to Oman, I took Brazilian businessmen from the sectors of aircraft, construction, mining, food, defense, and electrical and electronics industry. Our entrepreneurs have greatly appreciated the idea of a warehouse in Oman for the distribution of products to the markets of Asia and Africa. One of the outcomes of that visit was the creation of a business council consisting of members of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (CCAB) and the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry in addition to numerous possibilities of cooperation that resulted from these meetings.

In Oman, I found not only great opportunities, but also a welcoming nation with ancient traditions and lush landscapes. In addition, I received great hospitality from HM Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said as well as from the Deputy Prime Minister, Sayyid Fahed Bin Mahmood Al Said, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah, and other ministers and diplomatic staff. That hospitality left us the wish—and at the same time the challenge—to return such a reception. We want to host Omani authorities and delegations and also go back to Oman to increase the integration between our two countries.