BRASILIA – President-elect Jair Bolsonaro’s intention of moving the Brazilian Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has created concern among firms who export to the Arab world, the future agriculture minister acknowledged on Thursday.
“I have received calls from people who are concerned. From exporters, industrialists, especially from the meat sector, which is a major exporter to the Arab market,” Tereza Cristina da Costa told reporters prior to meeting with Bolsonaro, who will be sworn in on Jan. 1.
After the October presidential elections, Bolsonaro reiterated that he intends to carry out his campaign promise of moving Brazil’s embassy to Jerusalem, a proposal that has been met with disapproval from many Arab countries, just as when US President Donald Trump made the same move.
Although the move has not been officially confirmed, a Brazilian trade mission that was scheduled to visit Egypt last week had to be cancelled, apparently as a result of Bolsonaro’s announcement.
“Scheduling problems” were the official reason for cancelling the trip, though Brazilian news outlets have suggested that the real motive was Egypt’s disapproval of the statement made by the rightist president-elect.
Da Costa said she would discuss the issue with Bolsonaro, adding that she had noticed “unease” among Brazilian exporters.
“I want to understand the position that the incoming government will have to know how to act accordingly,” she said.
According to official figures, Brazil exported $13.5 billion worth of goods to Arab nations in 2017.