INMETRO expedites import license approvals in Brazil

The IT systems of Brazil’s national standards agency and its single window connect to make trade simpler and faster for government and business.

The IT systems of Brazil’s main consumer product safety regulatory agency, INMETRO, and the country’s new single window, Portal Único, have been successfully integrated to accelerate the approval of INMETRO licenses.

With over 18,000 import licenses now processed since the system upgrades in early March 2020, INMETRO’s preliminary analysis suggests that the average time taken for INMETRO to process a license has been cut by one to two days as a result.

The integration marks a major milestone in the project, supported and guided by the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, to streamline the INMETRO license approval process and make trade in Brazil simpler, faster and more cost-effective. The project is being delivered through collaboration between the Alliance, INMETRO and key government agencies including the Secretariat of Foreign Trade and Receita Federal do Brasil (customs).

In practice, the upgrade allows INMETRO officials to automatically approve import licenses in Siscomex, Portal Único’s IT system, as soon as they are approved in Orquestra, INMETRO’s IT system. Government officials will now no longer need to log into both systems to approve a license, resulting in efficiency gains for INMETRO and reducing human errors. The advance is also expected to improve compliance and could translate into time and cost savings for traders, proving once again that successful trade facilitation reforms can benefit governments and businesses alike.

“Considering that INMETRO issues around 220,000 licenses per year, the benefits for the private sector could be significant”, said Fabio Tedeschi, Deputy Project Coordinator at the Alliance.

According to Pedro Brown, Project Coordinator at INMETRO, “The integration between the two systems represents a fundamental step in making the licensing process more secure and predictable, benefiting both the public and private sectors. The partnership with the Alliance has opened many doors for us, exposing us to international best practices and showing us how small steps like these can be a game changer for business.”

Paulo Coscarelli, Executive and Management Coordinator of INMETRO’s Conformity Assessment Board, said: “This improvement is intended to simplify INMETRO’s pre-market control processes and facilitate international trade. In May 2019, we started our modernisation efforts with the publication of an ordinance allowing for import licenses to be issued after the shipment of goods. The published ordinance authorises the issuance of automatic licenses based on product category and other risk indicators. This is an example of how a simple change can result in significant benefits for businesses. All this would have not been possible without the close cooperation between INMETRO, SECEX and the Alliance.”

Aurelio Garcia, the Alliance’s Senior Programme Officer, said: “We are very proud of the work that our colleagues at INMETRO and SECEX have done to modernise and simplify foreign trade operations in Brazil. We are convinced that together we can offer better services to Brazilian citizens as well as local and global businesses. This will help us improve Brazil’s competitiveness and support inclusive economic growth that can benefit all.”

Philippe Isler, the Alliance’s Director, said: “While the COVID-19 crisis represents an unprecedented disruption to global trade, we are encouraged by the progress made in Brazil and the commitment of our partners to trade facilitation in these particularly challenging times.”

Later this year the project aims to fully integrate the INMETRO license issuing process into Portal Único, speeding up the process even further, unlocking savings for both government and business and improving the overall business environment in Brazil. The Alliance will work with INMETRO and traders once the project is complete to assess the impact on the time taken for licenses to be issued and any resulting cost savings.