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    Entrevista de Ivan Ramalho, presidente da Abece, ao jornal inglês Financial Times, reforçando a posição da Associação contra o protecionismo.
    Aproveitamos para informar que a Abece está organizando um seminário com o título Protecionismo: retrocesso ou defesa? em agosto próximo, em parceria com a Associação Comercial do Rio de Janeiro, visando trazer o tema para discussão ampla por especialistas de governo e setor privado. Oportunamente informaremos mais detalhes sobre o evento.
    A entrevista rendeu dois artigos no site do jornal, com destaque na página de América Latina do site, como podem ver no anexo, posicionando a Abece como fonte de correspondentes estrangeiros e também porque leva a bandeira anti-protecionista da Abece para a opinião pública internacional, sempre muito atenta a questões envolvendo protecionismo.
    No primeiro artigo, "Brazil moves agains motorcycle imports" (Brasil age contra importações de motocicletas), os jornalistas Joe Leahy e Samantha Pearson falam sobre o aumento de taxas de importação sobre motocicletas, aparelhos de ar condicionado e micro-ondas. No texto, Ivan Ramalho cita o lobby de setores da indústria sobre o governo. "O governo deveria resistir a esse lobby", afirma Ivan. Ele também utiliza outra declaração do Ivan, que afirmou que é um "falso argumento" dizer que as importações tiram empregos dos brasileiros, dada a baixa taxa de desemprego que o país apresenta no momento.
    No artigo "Brazil: protecting the protected" (Brasil: protegendo os protecionistas), publicado por Joe Leahy no blog Beyond Brics, o jornalista destaca que Ivan não vê o Brasil como sendo mais protecionista, mas ressalta seu alerta para a pressão de setores da indústria que conseguem a atenção do governo. No texto, Ivan também destaca os problemas relativos ao custo Brasil (taxas de juros, impostos, logística, infraestrutura) como mais relevantes para resolver os gargalos de competividade da indústria brasileira.

    Seguem abaixo os artigos:
    June 1, 2012 1:47 am

    Brazil moves against motorcycle imports
    By Joe Leahy and Samantha Pearson in São Paulo

    Brazil has raised taxes on motorcycles, air conditioners and microwave ovens in its latest move to cut imports and stem a prolonged contraction in the country's manufacturing sector.

    The industrial production tax on motorcycles made outside the Amazonian tax-free zone of Manaus, the centre of most of the country's two-wheeler production, was raised to 35 per cent from 20 per cent.

    The measure, which applies to domestic and foreign producers alike, follows a series of similar steps to protect industry and sparked a heated response from importers.
    "There is a strong lobby urging the Brazilian government to control imports and raise taxes," said Ivan Ramalho, president of Abece, an industry group representing international trading companies. "The government should resist this lobby."

    Brazil is facing growing allegations of protectionism after moves to restrict imports of cars from Mexico and to raise taxes on imported vehicles.

    The government counters that it is only protecting itself from dumping by foreign manufacturers, which are suffering from excess inventories amid a slowdown in developed markets.

    Alongside introducing tax increases on imported goods and providing grants and tax breaks to domestic industry, Brazil has also fought hard to weaken the real, its currency, against the dollar.

    Although the currency has weakened in recent weeks, economists say Brazilian manufacturers are still struggling.

    Official data Thursday showed industrial production contracted 2.8 per cent between January and April compared with a year earlier.

    "The economy remains weak despite the fiscal and monetary stimulus already delivered," Goldman Sachs said in a report.

    "The sluggish performance of the economy reflects the poor performance of the industrial and other tradable sectors; the fact that imports are increasingly satisfying part of final demand growth is also likely a contributing factor."

    The long slowdown in Brazilian industry has hit the auto industry the hardest, with Mercedes-Benz announcing this week it would temporarily lay off more than 10 per cent of its workforce for five months to cope with a sudden contraction in demand.

    Consumer durable producers were the worst hit in January to April, contracting 10.9 per cent. Among these, the automotive sector suffered a 14.9 per cent fall in output year-on-year.

    The increasing reliance on duties against imports to protect local industries is leading to concerns that Brazil may be fostering the creation of uncompetitive industries at the cost of the consumer.

    Mr Ramalho of Abece said proof that imports were not taking away local jobs was Brazil's unemployment rate of around 6 per cent.

    "This is a false argument: Brazil has its lowest rates of unemployment in its history," he said.


    Brazil: protecting the protected http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2012/06/01/brazil-protecting-the-protected/#axzz1wXwlTUFz
    June 1, 2012 12:01 am by Joe Leahy
    Ivan Ramalho does not think the government of Brazil is becoming more protectionist.

    But the head of Abece, Brazil's industry group representing international trading companies, says there are some sectors that are becoming more protectionist and some of them have the government's ear.

    "There is an intent that exists today, not in industry as a whole, but in some specific sectors towards more protection," he said. "They want, of course, more protection and with more protection, prices will increase."

    Anyone who lives in Brazil and has visited a supermarket or a car showroom knows there is much truth to this.

    The lucky people who travel, including many senior government ministers, do their shopping overseas. So expensive are the most ordinary items in Brazil that many residents now bring items as ordinary as dental floss, peanuts or other groceries back from their journeys abroad. Only the desperate or stupid would shop in Brazil out of choice - or of course, those who want to show off how much they earn.

    Brazil's rising tendency towards protecting domestic industry with ever higher taxes on imports only seems to worsen the problem - no matter how expensive imports become, it seems that the prices of domestic products are never far behind. In fact, they are usually far ahead. Locally produced vehicles, for instance, are often three times more expensive in Brazil than in the US and even than in neighbouring South American countries. And they often don't come with airbags.

    Ramalho argues that in many cases, Brazilian producers are not responsible for this. The notorious "Brazil cost", the toll exacted by the country's regime of burdensome taxes, poor logistics, high interest rates, a strong currency and soaring labour costs, plays an equally important role.

    "Brazilian industry, inside the factory, is competitive. The problem is when the product leaves the plant," he said.

    So is Brazil quantitatively becoming more protectionist compared with other countries? The answer is, perhaps surprisingly, no - especially when compared to most other major economies.

    According to a report by the World Economic Forum , Brazil ranked ninth in terms of the number of discriminatory trading measures imposed in 2011. First ranked was the European Union, followed by Russia, Argentina, the UK, Germany, India, China and France with Italy in 10th place.

    The problem, therefore, is not the quantity of the protectionist measures but who is being protected. Better would be to work together with car manufacturers to make their over-priced offerings cheaper or with shoemakers to develop products that are competitive on the global market, or with textile producers to reskill workers whose jobs are being taken away by competition from lower cost Asian countries.

    Indeed, at some point, this whole discussion around competitiveness is a debate that Brazil will need to have. At risk is its longer term prosperity.