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The Israel Export Institute has just signed an agreement with the Brazilian firm BRAIS, which provides representation for Israeli exporters in Brazil. The new pact took shape in the wake of Elbit Systems' appeal several months ago against granting BRAIS the right, through the Export Institute's Shavit program, to represent all Israeli exporters.

The Shavit program, which received a $30 million grant from the Finance Ministry, aims to promote Israeli exports to several priority countries, including China, India and Brazil.

Elbit's objection stemmed from concern that BRAIS' existing relationship with Israel Aerospace Industries would lead the Brazilian firm to promote IAI business at the expense of competing defense firms. It was therefore ultimately decided that BRAIS would partner with Israeli exporters in the fields of clean technology, water technology, communications, medical devices and medical computerization, but not the defense industry.

BRAIS' services will include market analysis, developing contacts with local partners and identifying new projects, as well as providing services to help exporters break into the Brazilian market. The Export Institute is currently exploring a possible relationship with another firm that would handle defense and security-related export contacts in Brazil.

Last week the institute unveiled a program to assist Israeli exporters in breaking into emerging markets such as Brazil, India and China in fields in which Israel has a comparative advantage - including domestic security, communications and cellular telephone service, clean technology (particularly involving water) and medical devices and medical computerization. With respect to Brazil, the program is designed to teach potential exporters about the Brazilian market, to arrange delegations to Brazil for meetings with key business people, to bring decision-makers in the Brazilian business world to Israel and to provide individual consultation to Israeli exporters.

The program was launched to coincide with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's visit to Israel, which begins tomorrow. President Lula will be accompanied by dozens of Brazilian business people.