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Uruguay studying N.B. practices

June 16th, 2004

NB Telegraph-Journal | General Business
As published on page C12 on June 16, 2004

A small country sandwiched between Brazil and Argentina is looking to New Brunswick for ideas on forestry management.

Uruguay's ambassador to Canada, Alvaro Marcelo Moerzinger, left Ottawa for his first trip to New Brunswick this week. His first stop on Tuesday was at Remsoft Inc.'s office in Fredericton. The forestry-management software developer is looking to South America for potential clients, and Uruguay is searching for techniques to manage its fledgling forestry sector.

"We had an official plan started in the '80s, trying to increase our land for forestry, and we were very successful," Mr. Moerzinger said. "Now we are in the state to export the products to the world so we need some technology to do that, and we need some education."

The ambassador was impressed by what he saw of New Brunswick, parts of which reminded him of home. Mr. Moerzinger hinted that a Uruguayan office in the province could become a reality.

"We are looking to open an office in New Brunswick, in Fredericton or Saint John," he said. "Someone to take care of our interests here. I think New Brunswick is a good place to know more about how to manage forestry."

In May, a delegation from Remsoft visited South America to test the waters. Andrea Feunekes, president of Remsoft Inc., said the firm is a few years away from deciding to sell software to South American countries such as Uruguay

"Uruguay is interesting to us to explore further," she said. "Uruguay is a country that is quite open for business. It has a lot of similarities to Canada, so it is an interesting place to us."

Besides Uruguay, which is a relatively small market, Chile has a well-established forestry industry and Brazil is on the way, Ms. Feunekes said. The demand for wood is going to increase, said Ms. Feunekes, and trees grow very fast in that region of the world.

"The forestry they do there is well-suited to our products, so that is why we are kind of looking at it," she said. But before making a decision to market software in South America, Ms. Feunekes said Remsoft needs to learn more about the business climate and figure out how to overcome the language barrier.

Uruguay, which is about 100,000 square kilometres bigger than New Brunswick, has a population of 3.4 million people. Three-quarters of the country is covered by grassland, but 3.6 million hectares have been designated as suitable for forestry. The biggest resources in Uruguay remain arable land, minor minerals, hydroelectric power and fisheries.

After Mr. Moerzinger's meeting at Remsoft, he was scheduled to meet with Lieutenant-Governor Herménégilde Chiasson, Minister of Intergovernmental and International Affairs Percy Mockler, and Premier Bernard Lord, among others. Mr. Moerzinger was also introduced in the legislature on Tuesday.

Media Contact: Moira Finn Manager, Communications & Publications
Tel.: +1 506 450-1511

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