Brazil - commercial

Brazil - commercial

Brazil is the seventh biggest economy in the world with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of USD 2.3 trillion. It is by far the biggest economy in Latin America. It includes large states such São Paulo with an economy bigger than Argentina.

400 of the world’s 500 largest companies operate in Brazil. These include many UK companies, such as Rolls Royce, Shell, BP, JCB, Rexam and Experian. Shell is now the largest foreign company operating in Brazil following their acquisition of BG Group in February 2016.

Benefits for UK businesses exporting to Brazil include:

  • European oriented culture and business practices
  • Political stability
  • Expanding consumer market

Strengths of the Brazilian market include:

  • Strong and globally integrated business base
  • Solid and modern banking system, with presence of world’s largest investment banks
  • Expanding labour force


Challenges faced in doing a business in Brazil:
Brazil has enormous potential for UK companies, but it will take time, money and effort. Challenges include:

  • Complex tax system with high taxes
  • Complex regulatory system
  • Local content laws in certain sectors
  • Long journeys between cities and states, where cultures can vary significantly
  • A lot of importance is put on personal contact so you may need to visit several times before securing a deal
  • Organised crime is a significant problem in some parts of Brazil

You will need to know what import duties a product will attract in Brazil. High duties may make exports too expensive for the Brazilian market.
Brazil allows a duty free allowance for upto 50USD.
 To find out more about customs click here for market access database

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Essential Customs Information
All shipments must be accompanied with the original Commercial (never Pro-forma) Invoice. Waybill must be typed in English and include importer’s account number, receiver’s complete details, TC and DTP info. The quantity/variety of the content cannot reveal its commercial purpose. Provide a detailed description of contents – e.g. not simply ‘samples/gifts/spare parts’ – or shipments will be returned to origin. 

E-commerce purchases must include the freight in in the Commercial Invoice, even if sent as a DTP (Duties Taxes Paid) shipment. A Brazil Tax ID is mandatory for all goods shipments. If the receiver is not a Brazilian citizen, their passport can be used instead.Personal letters, post cards and telegrams can only be sent through the Public Post Office – Correios.

Prohibited items specific to Brazil:
The list below is in addition to DHL’s standard list of prohibited items:

  • Antiques
  • Asbestos
  • Cigarettes including electronic cigarettes and related products
  • Currency
  • Dangerous goods, hazardous or combustible mats
  • Firearms, or parts of
  • Gambling devices
  • Ivory
  • Liquid nitrogen packages, e.g. for transporting non-hazardous liquids
  • Military equipment
  • Milk and milk products from China
  • Playing cards
  • Precious & semi precious stones
  • Precious metals
  • Used goods
  • Wild animals & plants

Restricted items specific to Brazil:

  • Alcoholic beverages, jewellery, medical / dental supplies & equipment, personal effects, specific foodstuffs (cheese, crustaceans, eggs, fish, ham, honey, honeycomb, lacteal products, propolis, Royal Jelly and salami), tobacco / tobacco products and x-ray machines. Can only be sent as Formal imports to legal entities, not to individuals. Provide import licence and state ‘FORMAL IMPORT’ on Waybill.
  • Almonds, balsamic vinegar, canned/pickled products (not perishable), hazelnuts, olive oil, pistachios, truffles. Will be subject to agriculture inspection.
  • Animal skins Can only be sent to legal entities. Provide original Phytosanitary Certificate from origin/s and Agriculture Import Authorisation to Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry. Animal skins for clothing: only original Phytosanitary Certificate required. Items will be physically inspected at Brazil Customs.
  • Biological Substance Category B, UN3373 Can only be imported from one legal entity to another in UN Package 3373, with a professional declaration that contents are not infectious. Receiver to provide additional documentation.
  • Books: hardback or paperback for non-commercial use Exempt from duties if declared as ‘Book’. E-book devices and Kit Educational Material are not exempt from duties.
  • Bunker oil sample (for analysis) and non-hazardous chemicals Provide full product description with Material Data Safety Sheet (MSDS) and declare the goods as ‘not dangerous’, in accordance with International Air Transport Association’s (IATA’s) regulation.
  • Computer software and media Products are dutiable.
  • Costume jewellery valued <US$ 3,000 Can be imported informally. All duties will be charged. In case of temporary import, state ‘FORMAL IMPORT’ on Waybill.
  • Credit cards Can only be sent as documents if embossed/printed, consigned to the end user and not activated.
  • Diplomatic mail Must be sent from one diplomatic entity to another (e.g. consulate to embassy) as goods. State ‘DIPLOMATIC BAG’ on Waybill.
  • Drugs: non-prescription Non-registered health products: can only be shipped to legal entities, labs and/or universities in quantities suitable for analysis or tests. Must be accompanied with a purpose declaration. Health registered products (including those for resale): must be sent through Formal Import. Provide import licence and state ‘FORMAL IMPORT’ on Waybill.
  • Drugs: prescription For drugs that do not exist in Brazil: receiver to provide a purpose letter of use and original prescription for individuals from origin; this must be signed by a professional.
  • Grain samples & seeds Provide original Phytosanitary Certificate. Unprocessed grains: also provide original import authorisation.
  • Liquids, non-hazardous Must be sent from one legal entity to another. Provide Original Analysis Certificate from origin and Agriculture Import Authorisation issued by Brazil’s Agriculture Authority.
  • Perishables, including animal products and medicines Animal feed, medicines, hygienic products imported by legal entities: provide original Analysis Certertificate from origin and original Agriculture Import Authorisation issued by Brazilian Agriculture Authority. Shipment must contain lot number, date of manufacture and expiration date. For individual imports: provide original Agriculture Import Authorisation and medical prescription.


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