Brazil’s New Imports Licensing System to Reduce Delays, Enhance Consumer Safety

Traders urged to embrace time and cost-saving opportunities

Brazil has officially launched a new, modernised import licensing system, which is expected to have an immediate impact on the time and cost of processing the necessary documentation for businesses, while also enhancing consumer safety.

INMETRO officials and the private sector marked this milestone solution with a virtual ceremony on April 6, urging traders to adopt the new system.

A surge in demand for consumer goods in recent years as Brazil worked to open its economy hampered the applications process for import licences covering a wide range of products, from toys to solar panels.

Recognising the need for a sustainable solution, Brazil’s National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology (INMETRO), the standards agency responsible for issuing such import licences, worked with the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (the Alliance) and the private sector to introduce new risk management and IT systems.

The new processes replace a manual and labour-intensive licence vetting procedure involving two separate systems with one integrated system, where fully compliant low-risk requests are automatically assessed and approved within minutes of payment confirmation. This work was done in close collaboration with the Secretariat of Foreign Trade of the Ministry of the Economy (SECEX).

As a result of the new licensing process, average approval times are projected to fall by up to 90% per licence for high-volume imports, such as LED lamps, washing machines, and refrigeration compressors.

Also, instead of having to obtain a license for every shipment, new INMETRO licenses will be valid for up to 48 months regardless of quantity. This is expected to translate into almost 37,000 fewer licence requests per year and an average cost reduction of US$ 47 per licence, representing annual savings of approximately US$ 1.4 million for business.

The Alliance will continue to work with INMETRO, SECEX, and the private sector to monitor progress and quantify the benefits in time of cost-reduction and other metrics.

The project contributes to Brazil implementing its commitments under the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, which requires countries to expedite the movement, release, and clearance of goods.

This (new system) is a modern management tool that will enable more agility in trade, and integrate processes with other public bodies, thereby reducing costs by working more efficiently,” said Marcelo Ferreira, Executive Coordinator of the Conformity Assessment Department at INMETRO.

The Alliance is very proud to have helped INMETRO modernise and simplify Brazil’s trade processes,” said Aurelio García, who is leading the work on behalf of the Alliance. “Faster approvals of import licences will bring meaningful savings for Brazilian businesses, particularly micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), while helping the government increase consumer safety.