Excessive import and export bureaucracy affects $ 140 billion in business

An unpublished study by the National Confederation of Industry (CNI) shows that a quarter of Brazilian exports, totaling US $ 49.21 billion, had to apply for an export license last year. The main problem with these licenses is the insecurity created by the unpredictability of what anuences are required and their cost, as there is no user-friendly database with all the information gathered. There are 46 different procedures, with different tariffs, from 12 consenting agencies in the export process. The CNI has identified 72 fees or charges required by 16 different agencies. Last year, 4,314 products or 59% of Brazilian imports, in a total amount of US $ 91 billion, were subject to licensing.

There are absurd examples like the license for the importer to prove that they do not need a license. The Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) charges a fee of R $ 721.47 to issue a “certificate of exemption” of license for the importation of vehicles and machines. Without this “license” it is impossible to import a group of vehicles and machines.

Currently, Brazil is one of the countries that most require licensing in the world. The process of liberation to enter the country of an NCM (Mercosur common nomenclature) – code that includes products in groups – can involve up to six organs.

“There is an excess of consenting organs and bureaucratic steps not always very clear to be fulfilled. We have a significant amount of goods subject to administrative control both in import and export. At the same time, the country needs to simplify and reduce the costs of foreign trade, to increase competitiveness and facilitate the internationalization of its companies to grow and create jobs, “explains the president of CNI, Robson Braga de Andrade.


The CNI survey heard 114 companies from sectors such as machinery and equipment, textiles, metallurgy and steel, automotive, parts and pieces, chemicals and plastics. In addition, he did extensive interview work with experts and technicians from the consenting bodies, who agreed to talk, and used the Access to Information Act for the most inaccessible cases.

Six months of in-depth analysis of laws, decrees, ordinances, instructions and other normative acts published by various government agencies.


The study also shows that the licensing procedure is time consuming. It takes on average 25 days in Anvisa, 20 days in the DFPC, 45 days in Inmetro and 30 days in the National Commission of Nuclear Energy (CNEM). The costs and time required to complete foreign trade procedures have become a constant and widespread concern of the private sector.

Currently, Brazil’s international trade is ranked 139th among 190 countries in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2018, behind important competitors in Latin America, such as Mexico and Chile.


The study shows that there is ample room for simplification of steps and government agencies involved in foreign trade, as well as the need to reduce the unpredictability of procedures and costs for the private sector.

Importing simple products, such as a shampoo for use in Brazilian agriculture, can be very complicated. In addition to the entrepreneur paying the 18% tax, must dive into a universe to part to get the import license. Approvals from IBAMA, the National Sanitary Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (Map) are required. There is no coordination between them to exchange information.

“We recognize the importance of approvals. In some cases, they exist to fulfill international commitments assumed by Brazil. But it is vital that it be a faster, less bureaucratic, less costly process and that the organs talk to each other. Without this, Brazil will not be able to integrate itself with foreign trade, “says Robson Braga de Andrade.

(*) With information from CNI

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