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Trade Profile

In this page: Foreign Trade in Figures | Trade Compliance | Standards


Foreign Trade in Figures

Although foreign trade only represents slightly over one-fourth of its GDP, Brazil is among the world's 25 largest exporters and importers. The country has an enormous economic potential. Its main trade partners are China, the United States, the countries of Mercosur and the EU. Brazil mainly exports agricultural and food products (soya, coffee, sugar, maize, meat), minerals, oil and air vehicles and imports hydrocarbons, vehicles, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, and electrical and electronic products.

Brazil’s trade balance is structurally positive, but has declined in recent years due to a drop in the prices of raw materials, an increase in energy imports and a decline in the competitiveness of Brazilian products. Brazil’s current account balance represented -0.6% of GDP in 2017 compared to -1.3% in 2016. From 2013 to 2015, Brazil experienced trade deficits but the balance has picked up since mid-2016 to reach an estimated USD 8 billion by the end of 2017. As the world’s agricultural super power, Brazil conducts a very particular foreign trade policy, aiming at conquering markets while preserving at all cost its influential position.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20122013201420152016
Imports of Goods (million USD) 233,398250,556239,152178,798143,474
Exports of Goods (million USD) 242,578242,034225,101191,134185,280
Imports of Services (million USD) 75,83281,05385,91668,92163,750
Exports of Services (million USD) 37,39336,48239,04732,98933,300
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 0.77.2-1.9-14.1-10.3
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 0.32.4-
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 13.113.913.714.112.1
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 11.711.611.012.912.5
Trade Balance (million USD) 17,260389-6,62917,67045,037
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -22,589-45,984-54,736-19,24914,590
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 24.825.624.727.024.6

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) - 2017; World Bank - 2017


Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
China 21.8%
United States 12.5%
Argentina 8.1%
Netherlands 4.2%
Japan 2.4%
Chile 2.3%
Germany 2.3%
India 2.1%
Mexico 2.1%
Spain 1.8%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
China 18.1%
United States 16.7%
Argentina 6.3%
Germany 6.1%
South Korea 3.5%
Mexico 2.8%
Italy 2.6%
Japan 2.5%
France 2.5%
Chile 2.3%

Source: Comtrade, 2017


Main Products

217.7 bn USD of products exported in 2017
Soya beans, whether or not broken 11.8%
Iron ores and concentrates, incl. roasted iron pyrites 8.8%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 7.6%
Cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in solid form 5.2%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 3.1%
Meat and edible offal of fowls of the species gallus domesticus, ducks, geese, turkeys and guinea fowls, fresh, chilled or frozen 3.0%
Chemical wood pulp, soda or sulphate (excl. dissolving grades) 2.7%
Oil-cake and other solid residues, whether or not ground or in the form of pellets, resulting from the extraction of soya-bean oil 2.3%
Maize or corn 2.1%
Coffee, whether or not roasted or decaffeinated; coffee husks and skins; coffee substitutes containing coffee in any proportion 2.1%
150.8 bn USD of products imported in 2017
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 7.9%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 3.6%
Electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies 2.8%
Coal; briquettes, ovoids and similar solid fuels manufactured from coal 2.3%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 2.1%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 2.0%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 2.0%
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 1.9%
Human blood; animal blood prepared for therapeutic, prophylactic or diagnostic uses; antisera and other blood fractions and modified immunological products, whether or not obtained by means of biotechnological processes; vaccines, toxins, cultures of micro-organisms (excl. yeasts) and similar products 1.9%
Mineral or chemical fertilizers containing two or three of the fertilizing elements nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; other fertilizers (excl. pure animal or vegetable fertilizers or mineral or chemical nitrogenous, phosphatic or potassic fertilizers); animal, vegetable, mineral or chemical fertilizers in tablets or similar forms or in packages of a gross weight of <= 10 kg 1.7%

Source: Comtrade, 2017


Main Services

33.3 bn USD of services exported in 2015
Other business services
Computer and information services
Insurance services
Government services
Financial services
Royalties and license fees
Communications services
Cultural and recreational services
Construction services
70.5 bn USD of services imported in 2015
Other business services
Royalties and license fees
Computer and information services
Government services
Insurance services
Financial services
Cultural and recreational services
Communications services
Construction services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data


Exchange Rate System

Local Currency
Brazilian Real (BRL)
Exchange Rate Regime
Floating exchange rate.
Level of Currency Instability
The Real has recently been subject to increased volatility. In 2015, it fell to its lowed point compared to the U.S. Dollar in a decade, due to fiscal turmoil and signs of economic contraction.
Monetary Indicators 20132014201520162017
Brazilian Real (BRL) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 2.162.353.333.493.19

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party of the International Coffee Agreement 2007
Main International Economic Cooperation
Full member of MERCOSUR since 2012.
Latin American Integration Association (ALADI)
Free Trade Area of the Americas, not yet elaborated (FTAA)
The country has signed a trade agreement with 21 other countries in the São Paulo Round of the Global System of Trade Preferences among Developing Countries (GSTP).
Party of the ATA Convention on Temporary Admissions and Use of the Carnets

As a Reminder, the ATA is a System Allowing the Free Movement of Goods Across Frontiers and Their Temporary Admission Into a Customs Territory With Relief From Duties and Taxes. The Goods Are Covered By a Single Document Known as the ATA Carnet That is Secured By an International Guarantee System.
Look Up the Other Member Countries And Read the Web Pages of the World Customs Organization Devoted to the ATA Carnet.
Party of the TIR Convention

As a Reminder, the TIR Convention and its Transit Regime Contribute to the Facilitation of International Transport, Especially International Road Transport, Not Only in Europe and the Middle East, But Also in Other Parts of the World, Such as Africa and Latin America.
The UNCTAD Website Allows You to Read the TIR Convention, See the List of Member Countries And to Find Further Information.
Accompanying Documents For Imports
- single administrative document (SAD)
- commercial invoice (in triplicate, preferably in Portuguese, with a detailed description of the goods, the country of purchase, origin and provenance, tariff details, registration number in the importer's register of commerce and the classification number of the goods)
- phytosanitary or health certificate;
- free sale certificate for cosmetics;
- radioactive non-contamination certificate;
- certificate of analysis and origin for wines, consular declaration for other types of alcoholic beverages;
- transport documents and packing list.
Free Zones
There are 8 free zones in Brazil but only the Zona Franca de Manaus has managed to attract foreign investment and experienced real economic development.
For Further Information
Customs Department
The WTO website on Brazil's commercial policy
Non Tariff Barriers
A large number of imported products are subject to a prior license application to the SECEX (Secretariat for Foreign Trade), which is the only organisation authorised to issue this license. The license is valid for 60 days from the date of shipment of the goods (sometimes from the date of the license application). This period cannot be extended and is often insufficient. A new license application must then be made. For textiles, regulations are even stricter: the license is only issued if payment is carried out within 30 days following the date of the B/L (importers have to prove that they have effectively paid within the 30 days).

All imports must be accompanied at least by 2 copies of the commercial invoice and the B/L. In the case of non-compliance with the legal requirements of the country, customs officials have the right to impose large fines (commonly, up to 100% of the usual duties). It is advisable in any case to work with a very good Brazilian Customs broker, who stays up to date on Customs regulations.

One must consult the numerous sanitary regulations before undertaking any imports.

Since Brazil has launched the Brasil Maior (Greater Brazil) plan, a rise in trade protection has been observed.

Sectors or Products For Which Commercial Disagreements Have Been Registered With the WTO
Petrol, agricultural dumping, cotton, citrus fruit, heavy industry, patents (with the United States); aeronautical construction (with Canada); coffee, poultry, sugar, heavy industry (with the European Union). Brazil is often attacked for its import restrictions and on its side makes complaints about the agricultural subsidies in the OECD countries.
Assessment of Commercial Policy
Brazil and the WTO
Barriers to exchanges, inventoried by the EU
Sanitary and phytosanitary barriers, inventoried by the EU

Learn more about How to Export to Brazil on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.



National Standards Organisations
Brazilian Technical Standards Association
Brazilian Committee for Standardisation in the Fields of Electricity, Electronics and Telecommunications
National Council of Metrology, Standardisation and Industrial Quality (CONMETRO)
National Institute of Metrology, Standardisation and Industrial Quality (INMETRO)
Integration in the International Standards Network
Member of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the Global Ecolabeling Network (GEN), the Pan-American Standards Commission (COPANT), the MERCOSUL Association for Standardisation (AMN) and of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), which has become the GS1 after merging with a European group (an organisation concerning logistics chains and bar codes).
Obligation to Use Standards
Conforming to standards is obligatory for some products.
For others it is voluntary. As with all voluntary standards, market forces and preferences often lead to the need for a specific certification.
Classification of Standards
ABNT, NBR standards
Assessment of the System of Standardization
The Brazilian consumer's approach is twofold: the 40 million richest Brazilians have requirements close to those of OECD countries' markets regarding the quality standards of the goods they buy. On the other hand, the rest of the population is especially careful about prices and the product's commercial image. Brasil has strict rules regarding standards and an active group of standard organizations.
Online Consultation of Standards
The ABNT Catalogue
Certification Organisations
List of organisations authorised to issue certifications


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Last Updates: May 2018