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Import Documents

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Importing products to Brazil requires special attention. The required  documentation is composed of an extended list of documents, with different final aims. It is absolutely vital for the information in the documents to be complete, correct and consistent with each other. If this is not the case, fines may apply or you may lose your cargo. 

The Certificate of Origin is issued by the agent in the exporting country and serves as proof of the origin the goods come from. This document is important when there are advantageous trade agreements between Brazil and the country of destination of the cargo. Tax exemptions only apply if this document is available to the authorities.  The format of the CO must be checked in advance, because it varies depending on the country of origin. Note that for each import, a new certificate must be issued, which means there must be one certificate per invoice. Therefore, if the imported cargo is split into 5 invoices, 5 COs must be delivered to the authorities. 

The packing list consists of a detailed list of all components of the cargo. When the goods arrive at the destination port or airport, its content is compared to that shown on the packing list, by sampling. The packing list helps identifying the location of a selected sampling item. It is recommended that the packing list includes the total number of packages, their identification in numerical or alphabetical order and the content of each one. If the packing list is not available to the authorities, a fine of R $ 500 will be charged. 

There are two types of invoices involved in the entire import process to Brazil.  The proforma invoice is issued by the exporter and triggers the negotiation process. It contains information about the quantity of goods to be imported, its weight and freight cost. This invoice does not yet require payment of the goods, as it can still be altered and serves only as a preliminary proposal to the importer. 

The commercial invoice, in turn, already establishes a contractual link between the importer and the exporter. This invoice is also issued by the seller of the goods and is valid in any country. Do not forget to ask the exporter to sign the commercial invoice and to validate the import declaration, which will be addressed in point 2.6. of the document. Customs require a commercial invoice in order to identify the value of the goods and calculate the associated taxes with it.  

Once the Bill of Lading is issued, the shipping company is required to deliver the goods to the port / airport of destination. The shipping company becomes contractually the owner of the goods, until transferring ownership, once the cargo is picked up by the importer. For each mode of transport, there is a specific Bill of Lading. In ocean transport, the original Bill of Lading is used, while in air transport a document called Airway Bill is used. In the case of ground transport, the CRT is the official document. 

The Import License must be requested by the importer at the SISCOMEX, the Integrated Foreign Trade System in Brazil. It must contain a description of the imported goods and all the information involved, from the exporter’s name to the currency exchange rate contract used. The license is only required for specific products. Common materials that require licensing, are products that need surveillance by Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency) or Inmetro (National Institute of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality). Animal products, wood and agricultural goods require approval by MAPA (Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply). 

The Single Import Declaration is an electronic document issued on the SISCOMEX portal, which contains all the information about the import process. During customs clearance, the declaration provides all necessary information to the dispatcher, such as the name of the importer and exporter, information about the cargo, a tax classification of the goods and their customs value, as well as their origin. It therefore supports the supervision of the process by the authorities in charge. 

Filling out and issuing Brazilian import documentation does not have to be complex. A quality freight forwarder knows exactly which documents and licenses are needed and will help with the entire process. Oxen Cargo specializes in imports to Brazil. We not only provide resources to simplify your mission to the fullest, but we also offer a strategic session, where we clarify all your questions about Brazilian imports and exports.


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