ANNOUNCED AS TEMPORARYNo
Import licensing requirement
As a general rule imports into Brazil are exempted from import licensing, an exception being drawback imports. Importers are only required to register their imports documents (making an Import Declaration) at SISCOMEX, an electronic system for the control of external trade operations. At the end of January 2009, the government of Brazil (Ministry of Development, Industry and Trade, MDIC) adopted automatic import licensing procedures for certain products.
According the MDIC, the measure was established to monitor import statistics and check discrepancies in the data observed. However, it stated that the measure would not constitue a barrier to imports and the release of the import licenses would be carried out expediently.
The measure affected 24 SH chapters, concentrated mostly in equipment, machinery and electronic products. These chapters represented 71% of the total value imported by Brazil in 2008.
The government of Brazil stated in a press release by MDIC that the action taken was in full accordance with Article 2 of the Import Licensing Agreement of the WTO which states that automatic import licences must be approved in all cases and within 10 working days.
The measure was implemented, according to the explanations given by the Minister of Finance, as a means to monitor carefully Brazilian trade statistics and the trends in Brazilian imports (Reuters Online, January 29th, 2009). This explanation was further reinforced by MDIC, which referred also to the need to identify discrepancies in trade statistics (MDIC, 2009).
The press however, interpreted the measure as an attempt by the government to curb the continuous increase of imports of certain products. It reflected the government's preoccupation with the impact of the global crisis on the Brazilian balance of payments, which registered a deficit of over US$ 600 million in January 2009 alone. (Valor Econômico, January 27th, 2009)
The measure was revoked three days after its announcement, due to the intense criticism directed at the government by the Brazilian industry and trade partners.
The 39 affected trade partners have been identified by the following criteria: the country is one of the five main suppliers of an individual affected SH chapter or accounts for over 1% of the total imports of the affected tariff lines.