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ECCO Symposium Focuses On UAE, Brazil & SMEs

Clear links between the offset policy, the economy and the industry in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were detailed and analyzed at the European Club for Countertrade and Offsets� (ECCO) fourth symposium held at Eurosatory in Paris in June 2012.

The UAE policy focuses on the defense industry and manufacturing, aiming to ensure that the UAE advances from a defense buyer to a defense supplier. Debates concentrated on the fact that the concept of countertrade is globally now more important than ever to develop trade opportunities for countries outside their current markets; with defense contractors acting as important facilitators.

The UAE forum was followed by an array of presentations by Brazilian industry, the Ministry of Defense, the Brazilian Air Force and the Brazilian Defense and Security Industries Association, ABIMDE. The forum of Brazil included a view on the impact of anti-corruption laws on Brazilian companies.

Brazil aims to promote the balance of productive forces between competitive companies. The national strategy of defense ensures new, high-profile programs, which have to align with the MoD-issued guidelines for industrial participation. Obligors have to assist in fulfilling the interests of the air force, army and navy, each imposing offset obligations best suited to their own respective objectives.

The focus of offset in Brazil is on economic development, and technology and business cases have to be sustainable. It was mentioned that offset is not a strategy, but a tool to reach the defense contractors� strategy.

Offset implies that defense prime-contractors reorganize their supply chains, thus offset can directly influence the business activities of defense sub-contractors. Day two of the symposium comprised a workshop on offset and small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs), bringing offset mechanisms and their potential impacts on SMEs into the spotlight. Various OEMs teamed up with their foreign sub-contractors to share their experiences.

Themes included:

         The process of negotiating and implementing industrial cooperation

         The benefits that direct offsets ensure to countries purchasing defense equipment

         Overcoming cultural differences

         Aligning operational activities and quality standards

         Managing logistics and delivery dates

         The transfer of skills, technology and know-how

         Building long-term international teams

         Success stories and best practices

Experiences were shared by Rheinmetall (Germany) and Cargotec (Canada), Kongsberg (Norway) and Oricopa (Finland), RUAG Defense (Switzerland) and VDL Technologies (Netherlands), and Areva (France) with Pilatus (Switzerland) and Foskor (South Africa).

Cilas (France) shared their experiences in Spain, Atermes and Thales Communication (both from France) offered their views on offset in Malaysia, while Oktal SE focused on an indirect offset experience between major and small companies.

The roundtable discussion at the end of the day ensured interesting and sometimes heated debates, including some postulations and future views.

A total of 300 delegates from 30 countries registered for the ECCO symposium. Symposium No. 5 will be held in Frankfurt on 14 and 15 November, 2012, focusing on industrial participation and local content requirements in China for military and civil contracts, as well as consulting and finance in the offset regime.

For more information or inquiries click here

ECCO is an European association for companies, individuals and institutions involved in offset and countertrade. The association organizes symposiums where members and guests can unravel matters related to trade, international law and government procurement. Offset research and training are also aims of ECCO.

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