Shipping & Mail Forwarding to Brazil

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GENERAL IMPORT CLEARANCE INFORMATION

Clearance Process

Working with Customs officials throughout the world, FedEx has developed innovative technology to eliminate many steps of the paperwork-handling process and expedite the movement of international shipments. Starting at the origin location, state-of-the-art technology allows the processing of shipment paperwork and electronic transmission of documents to the designated FedEx hub and destination clearance location. The Expressclear system also keeps a database of regulatory information, which includes; importers' numbers, broker designations,corporate contact names and telephone numbers. At a FedEx hub, international shipments are sorted, scanned and loaded onto an international flight. Vital shipment information is keyed into a worldwide manifest database, which are linked computer systems operated by brokers and Customs officials in many countries. Even before the plane has taken off, or while it is in the air, Customs agents and brokers at the destination airport of entry can begin examining shipping manifests,querying air waybill data if they need more details, assessing duties and taxes a selecting the shipments they wish to examine. By the time the plane arrives at its destination, many packages have already been cleared by Customs. As the plane is unloaded, the Expressclear system identifies packages to be examined and prints "cleared" Customs labels for all others. Cleared shipments are transferred to trucks for immediate delivery. International shipments are scanned at all key points throughout the process, and this allows for up-to-date status reports including when Customs clearance is obtained.



Document Requirements
All Brazilian importers and exporters must be registered with the Foreign Trade Secretariat (SECEX) of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism (MICT). The inscription number on the Natural Person Register (CPF) or in the General Taxpayer Register of the Revenue Ministry (CGC), of the consignee must appear on the commercial invoice or other documentation for clearance.

Product registration in Brazil is a laborious task. Only companies with local operations have standing to apply for registration of medical products. Depending on the product, the registration may be valid from two to five years and can be renewed continuously for the same period.

Manufacturers must disclose to the local authorities, through their agents, the technical information of the product, e.g., components and parts of the medical devices. In the case of pharmaceutical drugs and cosmetics, one must inform the active and inactive ingredients. Instructions, directions, cautions, labels, brochures, and pertinent information about the products must be translated into Portuguese.

The product registration process often takes more than one year. Should the process take longer than three months, importers and producers are allowed to use a protocol number provided by the Brazilian authorities to distribute their products in Brazil. However, by doing so they assume the risk of product liability claims if their products are found to be unsafe by the Brazilian authorities.

Bills of Lading – No special regulations



Certificates of Origin –  A Certificate of Origin is recommended to be provided for every commodity subject to import licensing and /or quota restrictions from some origin countries. 

 

Commercial Invoices – Invoices are required for all dutiable shipments relating to commercial transactions between companies and companies, companies and individuals, regardless of the value. Commercial invoices should show freight, insurance and similar charges as separate items when applicable, regardless of the INCOTERM used on the transaction. 

 

Specific invoice details are required for a number of commodities including the following:

  • Textiles - the fabric breakdown, whether knit or woven and, for clothing articles, the gender;
  • Marked/mutilated samples - the words “mutilated samples” or “ marked samples, not for resale” as applicable;
  • Software on CD’s and floppy disks - The value of software must be shown separately from software support.
 

Air Waybill – An air waybill or carriers certificate (naming the consignee for customs purposes) is required as evidence of the consignee’s right to make entry.

 

Declaration of Antiquity – A declaration must be shown on the invoice for goods over 100 years old. The statement must include the words “ circa date” followed by the year of manufacture whether known or estimated.




Customs Valuation
On January 1, 1995, Brazil implemented the MERCOSUL Common Nomenclature, known as the NCM (Nomenclatura Comum do MERCOSUL), consistent with the Harmonized System (HS) for tariff classification.



Import Duties
Duty and Tax


Brazil and its MERCOSUL partners implemented the MERCOSUL common external tariff (CET) on January 1, 1995. The CET levels range between zero and 20 percent, with the exception of tariffs on telecommunications equipment, some capital goods, and products included on Brazil's national list of exceptions to the CET, such as shoes, automobiles and consumer electronics. For products covered by the CET, the maximum Brazilian tariff is now 22.5 percent; the most commonly applied tariff is 17 percent. Duties are levied ad valorem on the cost, insurance, and freight (C.I.F.) of the import.

Shipments by air valued between 51 USD and 3,000 USD are subject to a flat 60% duty and tax on the FOB value of the shipment regardless of the commodity. Medicaments for personal use are exempt from this duty and tax. Tobacco products and alcoholic beverages cannot be shipped via air express service.

Brazil also assesses the following taxes and fees on imports over and above duty and tax:

Brokerage Fee --1% of C.I.F. value
Warehouse Tax --1% of the import duty
Fee for Handling Charges--varies according to value of product (from 20 USD to 100 USD)
Administration Commission--currently fixed at 50 USD
Additional Port Tax--two fees totaling 3 % of C.I.F. value
A Merchant Marine Renewal Tax (MMR) is assessed at 25 percent of ocean freight charges on imports by sea, payable by the importer. There is current legislation that proposes a reduction of the MMR tax to 10 percent.

Merchandise entering duty free includes newspapers, maps, books, and magazines. Passenger baggage, such as personal clothing, jewelry, consumption goods and other objects for the passenger's professional or domestic use, are exempt from duty and tax. Souvenirs with a value not exceeding 500 USD also enter duty free. Personal effects of individuals transferring residence to Brazil are duty free if accompanied by an authorization by the Brazilian Embassy or Consulate in the country of origin.



Antidumping
Under strict enforcement of unfair trade laws, Customs will assess antidumping duties or countervailing duties. Antidumping duties are assessed on imported merchandise sold in Brazil at less than the normal price of goods in the manufacturer’s home market (also called fair market value).




Excise Duties
Excise duties are payable on a number of commodities: alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, minerals oils, and footwear, rubber, plastic, metals, raw hides & skins and some electric machinery and others.

 




Additional Duties
Brazil also assesses the following taxes and fees on imports over and above duty and tax:

Brokerage Fee --1% of c.i.f. value
Warehouse Tax --1% of the import duty
Fee for Handling Charges--varies according to value of product (from 20 USD to 100 USD)
Administration Commission--currently fixed at 50 USD
Additional Port Tax--two fees totaling 3 % of c.i.f. value
A Merchant Marine Renewal Tax (MMR) is assessed at 25 percent of ocean freight charges on imports by sea, payable by the importer. There is current legislation that proposes a reduction of the MMR tax to 10 percent.

Merchandise entering duty free includes newspapers, maps, books, and magazines. Passenger baggage, such as personal clothing, jewelry, consumption goods and other objects for the passenger's professional or domestic use, are exempt from duty and tax. Souvenirs with a value not exceeding 500 USD also enter duty free. Personal effects of individuals transferring residence to Brazil are duty free if accompanied by an authorization by the Brazilian Embassy or Consulate in the country of origin.




Import Taxes
Value Added Tax (VAT)


In addition to the import duty, tax and fess, the following value added taxes are generally applied on imports:

Industrial Products Tax ("Imposto Sobre Produtos Industrializados", or IPI) and the Merchandise Circulation Tax ("Imposto Sobre Circulação de Mercadorias eServiços de Qualquer Natureza", or ICMS.)

The Industrial Products Tax (IPI) is a federal tax levied on most domestic and imported manufactured products. It is assessed at the point of sale by the manufacturer or processor in the case of domestically produced goods, and at the point of customs clearance in the case of imports. The tax rate varies by product and is based on the product's c.i.f. value plus duties; it normally ranges from 0 to 20 percent. In general, a relatively low tariff rate carries a lower IPI tax rate and a relatively high tariff rate carries a correspondingly higher IPI rate. As with value-added taxes in Europe, IPI taxes on products embodying several stages of processing can be adjusted to compensate for IPI taxes paid at each stage. The IPI is assessed on the c.i.f. value plus duty.

The Merchandise Circulation Tax (ICMS) is a state government value-added tax applicable to both imports and domestic products. The ICMS tax on imports is assessed ad valorem on the c.i.f. value, plus duties, plus IPI. Effectively, the tax is paid only on the value-added, as the cost of the tax is generally passed on to the buyer in the price charged for the merchandise. The ICMS tax due to the state government is based on taxes collected on sales, minus those paid in purchasing raw materials and intermediate goods. The ICMS tax is levied on both intrastate and interstate transactions and is assessed on every transfer or movement of merchandise. The rate varies among states, with the predominant rate currently 18 percent. The ICMS is calculated on the c.i.f. plus duty plus IPI.



Customs Fees
It is essential that shippers prepare documents completely and carefully. Failure to make a separate declaration on the invoice of the net weight and value of drums, or other containers that have been used in shipping the merchandise, may subject Brazilian importers to heavy fines.

Once a product gets held at customs in Brazil, in most cases, Brazilian Customs will assess very high penalties -- usually 100 percent of the tax normally charged for the product. Brazilian Customs also frequently seize those shipments deemed to have inappropriate documentation. Brazilian Customs has broad discretion in determining fines or penalties for irregular shipments.

When goods requiring import license are imported without a license, there is a fine of up to 100 percent of the c.i.f. value of the merchandise. When a commercial invoice is absent, the fine is equal to the customs duty. If the original commercial invoice is not available for presentation at customs, the importer can sign a guaranty of responsibility that it will be presented within 120 days. Failure to present the invoice before expiration of the guaranty of responsibility could result in a fine equal to the customs duty.

For under-invoicing, over-invoicing, or otherwise misrepresenting the value of an import, there is a fine of up to 100 percent of the excess or deficiency. If the value declared by the importer is judged to be false, there will be a fine of at least 50 percent of the difference between the duty declared by the importer and that verified. If the appraised value exceeds the invoice value by more than 10 percent, there is a fine of 100 percent of the value of misrepresentation; the fine is 50 percent if the value of misrepresentation is between 5 and 10 percent. There is no fine in cases of error in weight or quantity, but rules are strict.



Exchange Controls
None



Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT's)
Technical barriers or non-tariff barriers to trade as they are sometimes known, can cause many problems for exporters looking for new markets for their products. These barriers can be in the form of regulations, standards, testing and certification procedures. The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade tries to ensure that these barriers do not create unnecessary obstacles. To obtain further information on Technical Barriers to Trade as well as Notifications on technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures, go to the WTO website at http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tbt_e/tbt_e.htm.

 




Consular Fees
Brazil does not require legalization of export shipping documents. Consular authentication of documents are not required.




All Brazilian importers must be registered with the Foreign Trade Secretariat (SECEX) of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism (MICT). In January 1997, the Secretariat of Foreign Trade (SECEX) implemented a computerized trade documentation system (SISCOMEX) to handle import licensing, and a wide variety of products were subject to non-automatic licensing. There are fees assessed per import statement submitted through SISCOMEX, and importers must comply with onerous registration guidelines, including a minimum capital requirement, to register with SECEX (the Foreign Trade Secretariat). Complete information on requirements for importing into Brazil is available only through SISCOMEX, which is only available to registered importers. Beginning in October 1998, Brazil issued a series of administrative measures that required additional sanitary/phytosanitary (SPS), quality and safety approvals from various government entities for products subject to non-automatic licenses. These products include, among others, weapons, pharmaceuticals, textiles, radioactive materials, etc. Such shipments are included in this new system but will require an import license (Licença de Importação), which needs special approval from different government agencies. Imports of software, hardware and electronic equipment do not need prior approval from the government. For shipments that require an import license, a Brazilian importer must follow the steps outlined below:

  1. The importer files an application for an import permit (Guia de Importação) for a specific transaction, accompanied by a foreign supplier's pro forma invoice for the product(s) to be imported and back-up information.

  2. The importer classifies the product according to the Common Mercosul Code.

  3. The importer starts completing the computerized SISCOMEX process of the Brazilian Customs, which informs if an import authorization, an import registration and whether an automatic or non-automatic import license is required.

  4. Once the application is approved by SECEX, the importer notifies the supplier to ship the product(s) and to send all shipment documents and commercial invoices along with the exporter's statement, certified by any chamber of commerce or Brazilian consulate located in the U.S., that the prices quoted are those prevailing for goods for export. Only those products now requiring an Import Declaration can be shipped before issuance of the Declaration, but must be received before customs entry. For those products requiring Import Licenses, shipment cannot take place until the license has been issued. Otherwise, the importer will face penalties.

  5. Importers arrange for a licensed customs broker to clear the goods and pay customs duties and other taxes (typically, the Industrial Products Tax (IPI) and Merchandise Circulation Tax (ICMS) and customs charges.

  6. A copy of the import license (Guia de importação) and the paid customs declaration are sent to the importer's exchange broker, typically a bank, for closing the foreign exchange transaction.

It is customary for an importer to retain an expediter (despachante) to assist in moving the import request through the approval process with SECEX and the customs authority.

All shipments to Brazil are subject to duty and tax regardless of commodity, shipper, consignee or value. Shipments arriving in Brazil must have the commodity value properly declared. Shipments without a value will be held by customs and will require special clearance procedures Duties and taxes must be paid even if the shipment is returned to the sender.

Commercial shipments or a shipment with a value over 3,000 USD must be cleared through the consignee's broker and duties and taxes paid.

For FedEx shippers, Commercial shipments can only enter Brazil via International Priority Freight or Broker Select Option services with an Import Permit, license, or exemption arranged by the consignee or consignee's broker prior to the arrival of the shipment. It is advisable to send the required documentation to the clearance point prior to shipment to ensure that it is correct.
All shipment weighing over 150 pounds must be customs cleared by the consignee or the consignee's designated broker and must utilize either International Priority Freight or International Express Freight service (not International Priority).

A commercial shipment is any shipment that is imported for resale, requires an Import Permit, is consigned to a company and exceeds $500 USD, or consigned to an individual and exceeds $3,000 USD.

Registration Requirements


All Brazilian importers and exporters must be registered with the Foreign Trade Secretariat (SECEX) of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism (MICT). The inscription number on the Natural Person Register (CPF) or in the General Taxpayer Register of the Revenue Ministry (CGC), of the consignee must appear on the commercial invoice or other documentation for clearance.

Product registration in Brazil is a laborious task. Only companies with local operations have standing to apply for registration of medical products. Depending on the product, the registration may be valid from two to five years and can be renewed continuously for the same period.

Manufacturers must disclose to the local authorities, through their agents, the technical information of the product, e.g., components and parts of the medical devices. In the case of pharmaceutical drugs and cosmetics, one must inform the active and inactive ingredients. Instructions, directions, cautions, labels, brochures, and pertinent information about the products must be translated into Portuguese.

The product registration process often takes more than one year. Should the process take longer than three months, importers and producers are allowed to use a protocol number provided by the Brazilian authorities to distribute their products in Brazil. However, by doing so they assume the risk of product liability claims if their products are found to be unsafe by the Brazilian authorities. For further information on frequently asked questions please see http://www.receita.fazenda.gov.br/principal/Ingles/faq.htm

Tariff Classification


On January 1, 1995, Brazil implemented the MERCOSUL Common Nomenclature, known as the NCM (Nomenclatura Comum do MERCOSUL), consistent with the Harmonized System (HS) for tariff classification.

Inspection


In order to authorize clearance, customs may require a physical inspection of the incoming merchandise. In this case the Import Declaration remains open and the shipment is not cleared until the inspection is completed and all requirements are fulfilled. Upon payment of the import tariff, state tax (ICMS), Industrial Tax (IPI) and port taxes, the customs broker closes the import declaration (DI) and the product is cleared.

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