Brazil can be a challenging market for doing business, partly due to a complicated regulatory environment. U.S. companies often report duplicative, arbitrary, or sometimes discriminatory regulations as barriers to trade for U.S. products in Brazil.
U.S. companies also cite high tariffs, an uncertain customs system, and high and unpredictable tax burdens, as major hurdles to doing business in Brazil. U.S. exporters in highly regulated industries such as medical devices, and health and safety products have a particularly challenging time navigating Brazilian rules and regulations. U.S. companies will increase their chances of success by working with Brazilian partners and demonstrating their commitment to the Brazilian market. While U.S. companies have faced market access challenges in Brazil over the past several years, including high tariffs and local content requirements, the U.S. Government is working with the Government of Brazil (GOB) to reduce non-tariff barriers, especially in the areas of trade facilitation, good regulatory practices, technical standards, and conformity assessment through several bilateral and multilateral fora.
On February 2, 2022, the bilateral U.S. – Brazil Protocol Relating to Trade Rules and Transparency entered into force, covering commitments in three areas: trade facilitation, good regulatory practices (GRPs), and anti-corruption.
In recent years, Brazil has taken some significant steps designed to ease regulatory burdens and implement GRPs.
In February 2022, INMETRO launched its new regulatory framework which is more aligned with international best practices. It will serve as a guideline for regulating products under INMETRO’s domain, such as toys and electrical equipment. The framework reduces the number of products under regulation, so that only products with a safety or environmental concern remain covered, allows for a greater use of self-declaration of suppliers and producers, when appropriate, as well as on the acceptance of international tests.
On June 30, 2020, Brazil published Decree 10.411, which implements the RIA established by the Economic Freedom and Regulatory Agencies laws.
In 2019, Brazil passed the Regulatory Agencies Law and the Economic Freedom Law, which make certain GRPs, like public consultation requirements and the use of a regulatory impact analysis (RIA), legal requirements for all Brazilian regulating agencies. Brazil has also begun an extensive regulatory review and reduction effort under Decree 10.139 of 2019.
On December 7, 2018, the Brazilian Foreign Trade Council (CAMEX) published Resolution 90, establishing good practices for the preparation and review of regulatory measures affecting foreign trade. The resolution encourages the relevant Brazilian regulatory bodies and entities to develop regulatory agendas, conduct RIAs, evaluate regulatory alternatives, use international standards, conduct transparent public consultations of a minimum of 60 days for all regulations with international trade effects, ensure all regulations comply with Brazil’s international trade commitments, notify regulations to the WTO via the inquiry point, use evidence-based decision making, coordinate with other relevant regulators to ensure coherence and compatibility with other regulations, and review and manage regulatory stock.
In March 2018, Casa Civil (the Brazilian Executive Branch) published an RIA Guidelines and Elaboration Guide for Brazilian regulators to improve the implementation of regulations in Brazil. The guidelines’ text is aligned with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) standards.
The governments of the United States and Brazil continue to collaborate and share information and experiences about good regulatory practices to promote a regulatory environment that is transparent, consistent, and predictable. It has helped U.S. companies comply with Brazilian regulations, since Brazil has been more open to regularly consulting the private sector when developing new regulations. By implementing and improving regulatory policy, Brazil has been reducing regulatory burdens for U.S. exporters and increasing mutual understanding of U.S. and Brazilian regulatory systems to enable better promotion of bilateral commerce and investment.