Exporting To Brazil: Master Shipments To the Land Of Parrots

November 2, 2022
 By Jacob Lee
Exporting To Brazil: Master Shipments To the Land Of Parrots
Last Modified: October 31, 2023
We know that exporting to Brazil can be challenging. With the help of our guide, you’ll be able to export to the country with ease.

Exporting to Brazil isn’t the easiest task to complete. The country is wrought with economic instability and unpredictably high tariffs and taxes on U.S. exported goods. That said, Brazil and the U.S. both have good diplomatic and trade relations with one another. As long as you follow all of the applicable regulations, your goods will make it into Brazil successfully. 

According to the International Trade Association, you’ll need to first check Brazil’s list of prohibited exports before sending goods to the country. Next, obtain registration with Brazil’s Foreign Trade Secretariat. Finally, labels and marks on U.S. exported freight to Brazil must be translated into Portuguese.

The regulations you’ll need to follow when exporting to Brazil might seem challenging, but with the help of our guide, you’ll understand the basics of sending goods to this country. 

A warehouse worker taking inventory of some freight

What Goods and Services Does the U.S. Export To Brazil?

Brazil and the U.S. have maintained a positive diplomatic relationship for quite a long time. This relationship started two years after the country gained independence in 1822. From this diplomatic relationship, a positive trade relationship has flourished.

The trade relations between the two countries are so positive that the U.S. is Brazil’s second-largest trading partner. Some of the primary goods that Brazil imports from the U.S. include:

  • Aircraft parts
  • Machinery
  • Petroleum products
  • Medical instruments

Trade in goods and services between each country has created some fairly impressive statistics. The table below represents the positive amount of trade that has occurred between both countries. 

U.S. and Brazilian Trade Statistics (2021)

Two-Way Trade In Goods$78 Billion
Two-Way Trade In Services$20.4 Billion
U.S. Direct Investment In Brazil$67.5 Billion
Overall Trade Surplus$25.5 Billion

Provided by the U.S. Department Of State

If you’re an exporter and you have the right goods to sell, then you’ll have the opportunity to make some good money when you conduct business with Brazilian importers. 

We mentioned that the U.S. exports a large amount of petroleum products to Brazil. If you want to send the petroleum product ethylene to Brazil, check out our article on exporting the product.

Two trucks that are having cargo containers loaded on them

Are There Barriers To Trade In Brazil?

Despite the great trade relations between the United States and Brazil, there are a few barriers to trade that U.S. exporters have run into in the past. Before you commit to exporting products to Brazil, you should be prepared for some of the issues that you might have to deal with when sending goods to the country. 

Unstable Economy

Brazil’s economy has proven to be unstable over the past few years. Recently, there have been factors that have impacted the economic stability of the nations such as the following:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic
  • The war in Ukraine
  • Rising Inflation
  • The 2022 Presidential Election
  • GDP Stagnation

Some of these factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in the Ukraine have affected all nations in some way. That said, these impacts have affected U.S. exporters trying to send their goods to Brazil more drastically than when exporting to other nations.

While these factors don’t necessarily mean that there’s nothing to gain by exporting to Brazil, they might be issues that you don’t wish to deal with.   


Regulations are often intended to have a positive impact. In Brazil, however, regulations on products belonging to certain industries have become counterproductive to trade. Some varieties of products that face arduous amounts of regulation when exported to Brazil include:

  • Health products
  • Medical devices
  • Safety products

Regulations for Brazilian importers can be fairly high as well. For example, foreign companies in Brazil that import certain types of goods from the U.S. might need to obtain an import license. There might be occasions when an importer will need one or more import licenses since there are about 16 different agencies that regulate a variety of different imported products. 

Exporting to Brazil can be difficult due to regulations, but not impossible. Nonetheless, you might find that the time it will take to ensure your goods pass these regulations isn’t worth it.

High Tariffs

Another problem that U.S. exporters might encounter when exporting to Brazil is high and unpredictable tariffs. The tax system in Brazil for imported products is quite complex and exporters are often surprised when they discover how high the tariff applied to their goods is. 

Before exporting to Brazil, you should familiarize yourself with the country’s harmonized schedule (HS) and with Brazil’s tax system. A good way to do this is to hire a Licensed Customs Broker who can help you with these particularities. 

If you’d prefer to export to a Central American country, then check out our article on exporting to Costa Rica.

Pottery in a pottery making facility

What Is the Tariff Rate On U.S. Goods Imported By Brazil?

The tariff rate on U.S. imported goods in Brazil can vary for a few different reasons. For one, there are three specific taxes on imported U.S. goods. These taxes are called the:

  • Imported Duty (Portuguese abbreviation is “II”)
  • Industrialized Product Tax (IPI)
  • Merchandise and Service Circulation tax (ICMS)

These three different taxes apply varying rates on your imported goods. While there is no set rate for these taxes, each one has a tax percentage range that your goods might be subject to. The tax percentage range of each tax is:

  • II tax rate: 10 to 35 percent
  • IPI tax rate: 0 to 15 percent
  • ICMS tax: 7 to 18 percent (this is the ICMS tax rate for the state of Sao Paulo. The rate can vary based on the state.)

The II is federally mandated and the rate varies based on the product itself. Additionally, II is levied on a Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) basis. This tax will be assessed during the customs clearance process. The IPI tax is applied for goods manufactured in Brazil and for goods imported into it. For imported goods, the tax is also assessed during customs clearance.

Brazil’s government levies the IPI tax based on how important it perceives the goods to be for the Brazilian buyer. This is what causes the tax rate to fluctuate between 0 and 15 percent. Lastly, the ICMS is a state government tax that’s applied to both domestically manufactured goods in Brazil and goods imported into Brazil. 

This tax rate is assessed at ad valorem of the CIF value. The II rate and IPI rate are also added to it. Although the ICMS rate has to be paid by the Brazilian importer for their goods to be cleared by customs, the importer debits the ICMS into the final price of the goods that are paid by the Brazilian end user. 

Your exported shipment, no matter how big or how small, will be subject to these taxes in Brazil.

Aerial view of cranes and various cargo containers at a port

What Documentation Does Brazilian Customs Require?

Any country that you export freight to will require you to provide shipping documents with your freight. When exporting to Brazil, you’ll need to provide some basic documentation, as well as documentation unique to Brazil. 

Basic Documentation

The basic documents that you’ll need when sending freight to Brazil are the same documents you would need to include when exporting to any other country. Those documents are the following:

  • A bill of lading or BOL
  • Commercial invoice
  • Proforma invoice
  • Packing lists 
  • Sales contract
  • An AES filing
  • A customs declaration
  • Paperwork on your chosen insurance policy

Essentially, these documents provide detailed information about your freight. This includes anything from what type of product your exporting, how much of it you’re sending and the insurance you have protecting it. The information found in the documentation you include with your freight is used by the importer in Brazil and the Brazilian customs alike. 

Foreign Trade Secretariat Registration

As a U.S. exporter, you’ll need to make sure you register with Brazil’s Foreign Trade Secretariat or SECEX. The SECEX is a part of Brazil’s Ministry of Economy and as such, it established and regulates the trade policies of the Ministry and its import-export requirements. 

When you register with SECEX, they might require that you provide additional documentation depending on the type of goods that you’re exporting to Brazil. Some types of products that will need additional documentation include:

  • Vitamins
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Cosmetics
  • Medical equipment

Obtaining the help of a Licensed Customs Broker will help you better identify which products might require additional documentation when exporting to Brazil. 

A close up view of the shipping label on a box

How Should Freight Exported To Brazil Be Labeled and Marked?

The labeling and marking requirements of U.S. exported goods to the Brazilian market are simple, but important to follow. According to the Brazilian Customer Protection Code, any goods that come into Brazil must meet two requirements:

  1. Labels must be written in Portuguese
  2. Labels must be readable and have precise information about the:
    1. Quality
    2. Quantity 
    3. Composition
    4. Price
    5. Shelf life
    6. Origin of goods
    7. Potential risk to the consumer’s safety and health
  3. Labels need to have the metric units or metric equivalent information on the product

In the case of hazardous materials shipments, you’ll need to verify that the goods are HAZMAT and provide the correct type of documentation. Beyond these labeling and marking requirements, Brazilian customs don’t require you to follow any other rules regarding the labeling and marking of your shipments. 

Canada is another country where we have great trade relations. If you wish to send goods to this country, consult our article on exporting to Canada.

Packaged meat in a grocery store

What Exports Does Brazil Prohibit?

Brazil has its own unique list of prohibited goods that you must not export to the country. That said, the list of goods prohibited from entering the country has gotten smaller due to the government in Brazil eliminating most prohibitions.  The current types of goods that are prohibited from being exported to Brazil are:

  • Used consumer goods
  • Fresh/frozen poultry and poultry products
  • Fresh/frozen pork products

Capital goods (goods used in the manufacturing of other types of goods) are allowed to be exported to Brazil under specific circumstances. This includes when a similarly and locally produced good isn’t available in Brazil. 

For more information about exporting, check out our article on export controls. 

Make Exporting To Brazil Easy With Cargo Exports USA

At Cargo Exports USA, we strive to make the exporting process as smooth as possible for U.S. exporters. Whether you’re new to exporting or just getting started, it’s good to have experienced members at your side to help. Our team of Licensed Customs Brokers makes it their duty to understand all of the current regulations regarding export and imports. 

Whether you’re exporting to Brazil, other South American Countries or anywhere else in the world, our team will be able to help in any way that you need. We even offer consulting sessions that allow you to sit down with one of our brokers and ask all the questions you want. 

Certificates of origin are both important and hard-to-obtain documents for exporters. Fortunately, we offer services that will help you obtain these important documents as well. We can also conduct screening for your exporter goods so you can have the assurance that they’ll make it past U.S. customs. Our services pages contain information about the other tasks we can perform for you.

Contact our team at (866) 301-0635 for more details about our consulting sessions or fill out a contact form today.

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