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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. The country's 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. It mainly 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. In 2014, for the first time since 2000, the country registered a trade deficit of USD 3.93 billion. Because of a fall in imports, the trade balance improved in 2015, reaching a surplus of USD 19.7 billion. In 2016, the trade surplus reached its highest level of USD 47.7 billion, due in particular to a fall in imports (caused by weak domestic demand and a decline in the real against the American dollar). This trend is expected to continue in 2017.

 
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) 0.32.4-1.16.31.9
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) 17,260338-6,62917,67045,037
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)
2016
China 19.0%
United States 12.6%
Argentina 7.2%
Netherlands 5.6%
Germany 2.6%
Japan 2.5%
Chile 2.2%
Mexico 2.1%
Italy 1.8%
Belgium 1.7%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2016
United States 17.5%
China 17.0%
Germany 6.6%
Argentina 6.6%
South Korea 4.0%
Italy 2.7%
France 2.7%
Japan 2.6%
Mexico 2.6%
Chile 2.1%

Source: Comtrade, 2017

 

Main Products

185.2 bn USD of products exported in 2016
Soya beans, whether or not broken 10.4%
Iron ores and concentrates, incl. roasted iron pyrites 7.2%
Cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in solid form 5.6%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 5.4%
Meat and edible offal of fowls of the species gallus domesticus, ducks, geese, turkeys and guinea fowls, fresh, chilled or frozen 3.3%
Chemical wood pulp, soda or sulphate (excl. dissolving grades) 2.8%
Oil-cake and other solid residues, whether or not ground or in the form of pellets, resulting from the extraction of soya-bean oil 2.8%
Coffee, whether or not roasted or decaffeinated; coffee husks and skins; coffee substitutes containing coffee in any proportion 2.6%
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) 2.5%
Powered aircraft e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes; spacecraft, incl. satellites, and suborbital and spacecraft launch vehicles 2.4%
137.6 bn USD of products imported in 2016
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 5.3%
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. 3.5%
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) 2.4%
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 2.2%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 2.1%
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) 2.1%
Electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies 2.1%
Turbo-jets, turbo-propellers and other gas turbines 2.0%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 2.0%
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%

Source: Comtrade, 2017

 
 
 

Main Services

33.3 bn USD of services exported in 2015
Other business services
52.48%
Travel
17.53%
Transportation
14.78%
Computer and information services
3.50%
Insurance services
2.96%
Government services
2.37%
Financial services
2.23%
Royalties and license fees
1.74%
Communications services
1.30%
Cultural and recreational services
0.94%
Construction services
0.16%
70.5 bn USD of services imported in 2015
Other business services
40.81%
Travel
24.62%
Transportation
15.06%
Royalties and license fees
7.45%
Computer and information services
4.26%
Government services
2.60%
Insurance services
1.87%
Financial services
1.45%
Cultural and recreational services
1.38%
Communications services
0.48%
Construction services
0.01%

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 20112012201320142015
Brazilian Real (BRL) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 1.671.952.162.353.33

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
No

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
No

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 Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

 

Standards

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: August 2017