A step-by-step guide to importing from Brazil

Trade with Brazil

Brazil is not an easy country to do business. Especially if you are not familiar with the culture and the language. When importing from Brazil, you have to deal with Brazilian suppliers, internal logistics and legal contracts. What are the risks and what are the steps you should take if you want to import from Brazil?

importing-brazilAs a result of the current economic crisis exports to Brazil fell sharply in recent years. Imports from Brazil on the other hand continues to grow every year and it is expected that this trend continues. Brazil is rich in resources and quality (craft) products. In addition, Brazil has a strong creative sector which translates into world-famous fashion brands of which the Havaianas slippers are of course the most famous example.

Importing from Brazil can be a great way to grow your business. Here we provide a step by step guide to importing from Brazil in a safe and cost-efficient way.

Import & export license Brazil (RADAR)

All imports and exports to and from Brazil takes place via an online registration system, Siscomex, which centralizes all information flows. To obtain access to Siscomex it is necessary to apply for a license. This license, RADAR, will be granted by the Brazilian tax authorities once all the conditions are fulfilled. This is a lengthy bureaucratic process. Additional requirements apply for some products. For exporting alcohol from Brazil, for example, a additional registration is required with the Ministry of Agriculture (MAPA).

Importing from Brazil requires a Brazilian import & export company that is in the possession of a RADAR license.

Modalities of importing from Brazil

There are two different methods to import from Brazil:

  • direct importing (importação direta)
  • indirect importing (importação indireta)

Direct importing from Brazil

In case of direct importing, the customer buys the product directly from the manufacturer in Brazil which then handles the entire export process. There is no use intermediaries. With direct importing the manufacturer in Brazil sends the invoice directly to the importer / customer. This mode is primarily used by larger companies which have their own import & export structure besides the necessary experience.

Indirect importing from Brazil

By using the modality of indirect importing an intermediary import & export company is used that handles the entire export process. In this mode the intermediary import & export company in Brazil actually buys the goods from the manufacturer and therefor becomes the legal owner of the merchandise to be exported. As a consequence, with indirect importing the manufacturer invoices the intermediary import & export company in Brazil, while the latter will invoice the importer / customer.

Doing business in Brazil requires a detailed knowledge and understanding of Brazilian culture and involves the necessary operational and legal risks. Personal relationships are important, and in most cases necessary to do business efficiently. Direct importing from Brazil requires a thorough knowledge of the Brazilian market. If you are new to Brazil and do not have any local presence, indirect importing in most cases will be the safest way to import from Brazil. Especially if you are dealing with small and medium sized companies in Brazil. In addition, it will also be the most cost-efficient modality to import from Brazil. Probably the import & export company in Brazil is better informed about the most economical way with regard to importing your products from Brazil.

The price and quality among different Brazilian import & export companies can vary widely. Please inform yourself well before you make your choice!

Importing smaller quantities

When importing from Brazil, you can choose between:

  • Full Container Load (FCL) and
  • Less than Container Load (LCL)

When planning to import goods from Brazil but the quantity is not sufficient to fill a complete 20ft or 40ft sea container, LCL might be the most cost-efficient solution. LCL means your cargo is combined with other shipping consignments. You share the space and the costs of one container. LCL shipping enables importers to ship smaller amounts of cargo in a affordable way. Cargo with a volume already as little as one cubic meter can be shipped in LCL mode.

In general, ocean freight shipping is the cheapest option for transportation even for smaller quantities. We can offer very competitive rates for all your import from Brazil from volumes as from one cubic meter where we offer door-to-door service.

Tax benefits

In line with the export policy in other countries, Brazil is also trying to boost its exports. Brazilian exporters, for example, are exempt from various taxes. To achieve these exemptions, however, conditions do apply. We ensure that these benefits are realized and passed on to our customers.

In addition to general tax incentives, there are also sector specific tax benefits.

In Brazil produced goods are subject to an export tax. As a tax base the FOB value is used. In most cases, to stimulate its exports, a zero tariff is applicable.

Complete import and export flow from and to Brazil

Internal logistics in Brazil is always complicated and costly. Finding a reliable supplier takes some effort and often no English is spoken in smaller companies. Moreover, Brazil is an expensive country to do business and local networks are essential to control these costs. With our local network and experience we can handle your complete import and export flow. If you do not have a reliable supplier yet, we can find on your behalf the right partner. 

You are importing or intend to import from Brazil and would like to know more what we can do for you? Please feel free to contact us. We always like to share our experiences and knowledge.


Useful links:

How to export from Brazil – The Brazil Business

Tax Reduction for Brazil Based Exporters – The Brazil Business

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.