Exports from Brazil to the Arab countries totalled US$ 6.58 billion in the first half, growth of 1.67% over the same period last year, according to figures disclosed by the Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade. The CEO at the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, Michel Alaby, said that, although small, the growth \"is a positive factor\", as total Brazilian exports dropped 0.92% in the same comparison. There was expansion in sales of items like meats, sugar, ores, chemical products, machinery and equipment, oleaginous plants (soy and peanut), tobacco, gold, paper, standing cattle and wood. Shipment of grain, vegetable oil, coffee, processed meats and vehicles, however, dropped. In June, exports generated little more than US$ 1 billion, a reduction of 9% over the same month in 2011. The reduction, however, was lower than what took place in total foreign sales of the country, 18.3% in June, according to the Brazil-Arab News Agency (ANBA). The reduction was caused mainly by a significant reduction in shipments of sugar. Alaby pointed out that there was lack of the product in the market. \"Brazil has even had to import sugar,\" he said. The country is the world s main producer and exporter of the commodity. In the area of imports, Brazil has expanded its purchases from the Arab world by 35% in the first six months of 2012 as against the same period in 2011. They totalled US$ 6.15 billion. The performance was boosted by imports of oil and its products.