Brazil is a very large country, with clear regional differences. It is also organized as a federation, which means that part of the state authority resides in the member states. And, finally, it has a well-developed legal system, covering most of the areas associated with modern democracies, such as environmental controls, export quotas, etc. This legal system, however, is not backed up by an efficient administrative body, but rather by a very fragmented and often untrained team of public servants. As a result, entrepreneurs must face a myriad of local and Federal regulations, managed by a circuit of suspicious bureaucrats.
This is even more apparent during the export process. There is frequent confusion regarding the production of documents. Different federal bodies have conflicting and overlapping competencies. Some procedures are performed on paper, while others are processed electronically, causing the exporter to type in the same information two or three different times. Moreover, the individual systems used by federal bodies do not communicate with the overall system, called Siscomex. Due to this gap in communication, the exporter must keep a physical file containing extracts of all the documents and licenses. This dossier was kept in place in order to instruct the inspectors, in case a physical inspection is needed.
In order to solve this, the Brazilian government has been studying a way to centralize the import-export procedure, making it more efficient. To this effect, several rounds of public consultation have been performed. The government has also been continuously making changes to the Siscomex, in an attempt to streamline the process. Improvements were happening slowly. However, ever since the traumatic impeachment process of 2015/2016, the Brazilian economy needed a burst of incentive to start running again. From the onset, Mr. Temer's administration has been in a hurry to deliver reforms that would have an immediate impact on results in GDP. It just so happened that the consolidation of export procedures was the kind of cheap reform that could be implemented quickly. It involved no major spending and the framework was already in place.
Indeed, the unified export system has started with exports by air and, as of June 2017, it became the main route for Brazilian exports in other modalities (road, rail, maritime, etc ). Below, you will find a description of the system's main features and how it benefits business: