Júlio Bitelli: the challenges of the new Brazilian ambassador to Morocco

Diversify commercial goods and assure the signing of the free trade agreement between Mercosur and Morocco are the main missions of the diplomat Julio Glinternick Bitelli, the new Brazilian ambassador in Rabat. “The range of commercial goods between Brazil and Morocco is excessively concentrated among just a few products. Brazil basically buys phosphate and phosphate derivatives, and sells some agricultural products, mostly corn, and sugar”, said Bitelli to the Brazil-Arab News Agency (ANBA).

Increased trade balance for Brazilian products

The diplomat considers that Morocco charges heavy tariffs on animal protein on Brazilian products. Bovine meat is taxed almost 200%, while poultry is charged 100%, thereby hindering the competitiveness of Brazilian products according to him. 

He believes these high tariffs are related to the fact that Morocco has signed free trade agreements with several other countries producing animal proteins. “We have to work on decreasing tariffs and enable our products to enter the Moroccan market more competitively, especially poultry and bovine meats. These are the most traditionally exported products to Arab countries.  Bitelli also reminds us that Brazil is a reference in producing Halal food products, as those are specifically prepared to adhere to Muslim consumption requirements. 

+ Brazil exported the equivalent of US$ 176.8 million dollars to Morocco from January to May 2019 and purchased US$ 289.8 million dollars in Moroccan products. Based on data from the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce. 

The free trade agreement

Signing the free trade agreement between Mercosur and Morocco is the second goal and extremely important subject on the agenda of the new Brazilian ambassador in Rabat. “At this time, the Moroccan authorities requested to analyze the terms of the agreement, and we hope that their reaction will be to restart negotiations again. This process can bring about enormous positive results.” 

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According to Bitelli, this agreement can strengthen Brazil-Morocco relations in several sectors, and one of them is tourism. “There is an idea for increasing the frequency of direct flights of Royal Air Maroc to Brazil and eventually adding of other destinations in Brazil, and the signed agreement provides tranquility so that this can be worked on,” he confirmed. 

Experience in MagHreb

The ambassador was present at the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce

The Foreign Affairs Commission of the Senate approved the name of Julio Glinternick Bitelli as the Brazilian ambassador in Rabat last week. Thus, he will leave his post as the Brazilian ambassador in Bogotá, Columbia, where he has held the office since 2016. 

Bitelli has already had some experience in the Maghreb, in the Northern African region that includes Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Mauritania. Bitelli was the Brazilian ambassador to Tunisia from 2013 to 2014.

+ Bitelli was welcomed by Tamer Mansour, the secretary general, Osmar Chohfi (Foreign Affairs), Mohamed Mourad (Administrative), and Ruy Cury (Foreign Commerce) vice-presidents, Fernanda Baltazar, the Institutional Relations manager, and Janine Menezes, the marketing director of the entity this Monday (1).

Information from the Brazil-Arab News Agency (ANBA)