Legal Magazine

Avoid Headaches When Importing Cargo to Brazil

Posted on the 15 January 2013 by Angelicolaw @AngelicoLaw

With international trade on the rise, Brazil is keen on increasing its import business. But for those folks thinking about sending products to Brazil, it is important to keep in mind the extensive import duties and documentation requirements. Make sure you’ve done your homework and are prepared for the importation process.

Here is a list of the four primary documents that are needed when importing cargo to Brazil (excluding food items and hazardous materials):

  • Import License. The Import License, or Licença de Importação, is the single most important document to have prior to the shipment arriving in Brazil. The import license can be obtained vis-à-vis the government’s SISCOMEX (Sistema Integrado de Comércio Exterior) registration system. Processing times and procedures will vary depending on the goods being imported. Without this document, you may be subject to fines and your products may be refused upon arrival to Brazil.
    • Limited License: for legal entities importing goods with a total value no greater than US$150,000 (CIF) per semester.
    • Unlimited License: for legal entities importing goods with a total value greater than US$150,000 (CIF) per semester. Payment amounts are estimated for periods of six months based on certain taxes collected during the previous five years.
  • Commercial Invoice. The Commercial Invoice tells the Brazilian Customs Authority everything it needs to know about the arriving shipment. The commercial invoice should include, without limitation, the shipment’s country of origin, identification information about the seller, buyer, shipper and agent, and a description of the goods being imported, including the classification, value, cargo weight, and payment. This process is frequently best handled by a freight forwarder or customs broker.
  • Bill of Lading. The Bill of Lading is the actual shipping document. It looks a lot like the commercial invoice but has details of the shipment itself, including the container number, the ship that the goods will sail on, and further seaway information. For legal purposes, it serves as title to the goods.
  • Import Declaration. The Import Declaration is the principal document that will be submitted by the importer to the Customs Authority upon arrival at the port of entry in Brazil. The import declaration will contain most of the same information already included in the other documents listed above, helping the goods to be quickly reviewed and cleared by Customs.

Depending upon what you’re importing, the paperwork required can get more extensive and can be potentially confusing. Ultimately, your team of importers should include a freight forwarder, a customs broker, a law firm and an accountant to make sure you’re following all the right procedures, avoiding unnecessary duties and, most importantly, avoiding huge fines that can be imposed by the local authorities. Let this team help you so that you can focus on growing your business.

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