Brazil Flex Licence: New Border Simplification

Brazil Flex License: a new border simplification to facilitate imports and exports 

Since June 28, 2023, Brazilian companies that need licenses to import or export goods have an easier time carrying out their operations. The measure, called the Flex License, simplifies the routine, and reduces costs for companies that need consent (authorization) to trade with other countries.

The change came into force with Decree nº 11,577, published on June 28, 2023, in the Official Gazette of the Union (Diário Oficial da União – DOU) and can be accessed through the Single Foreign Trade Portal (Portal Único de Comércio Exterior)[1]

More logistical flexibility and less bureaucracy 

With issuance based on deadlines, quantities or values of operations, the Flex License can replace hundreds of documents, reducing costs and allowing logistical flexibility for the realization of exports and imports in a consolidated or gradual way over time. 

It is estimated that a company that imports photovoltaic cells or automotive wheels, for example, could save about BRL 7,700 per year or BRL 30,600 in four years, if that is the validity period of the Flex License granted.

Before the Flex Licence, to import these products in Brazil three times a week, the same company would need 144 documents per year and 576 in four years, at a cost of BRL 53.53 for each of them. In addition, the Brazilian Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology (Instituto Nacional de Metrologia, Qualidade e Tecnologia – Inmetro), the government agency that authorizes the operations in this case and leads the pilot experience of using the Flex Licenses in imports, takes on average 15 days to issue each document. For other government agencies, the average shipping time can exceed 35 days.

With the new system, companies save time and resources by applying for the license only once. 

More than one sale with the same license 

Similarly, export licenses can also be leveraged to conduct more than one foreign sale. Although most of the consenting bodies in foreign trade do not charge fees to authorize exports, the facility now established in the decree streamlines operations and reduces the bureaucratic burden of companies operating in foreign trade. 

One case in which simplification applies is the export of nationally controlled drugs, which requires prior authorization from the Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency (Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária – Anvisa).

Before the improvement provided by the Single Portal, at each shipment abroad interested companies needed to present the registration of the drug in order to have its export released by the Anvisa. 

With the new rules, these exporters began to obtain the authorization valid for three years, making a new analysis by Anvisa unnecessary for each transaction. 

The Secretary of Foreign Trade of the Ministry of Development, Industry, Trade and Services – MDIC, Tatiana Prazeres, highlighted the importance of innovation: “for the private sector, the costs and bureaucracy associated with fees required by consenting bodies constitute one of the most critical obstacles to foreign trade. With the Flex License, in addition to the reduction of license expenses, there is a decrease in other costs with document compliance and storage of loads.” 

Centralization in the Single Foreign Trade Portal Another novelty of the rule created by the Executive Branch is that public bodies and entities may not require the completion of forms or the presentation of documents, data or information by any other means than the Single Foreign Trade Portal of Siscomex. 

According to the new rule, which regulates the provision of Law nº 14.195/2021, the transfer of requirements to the system must occur until September 1, 2023, for export and until March 1, 2024, for import. It is the first time that a normative act of the federal government presents deadlines for the centralization of bureaucratic requirements related to Brazil’s foreign commercial transactions, ensuring that the Single Foreign Trade Portal is the exclusive interface of contact between government and private operators for the realization of exports and imports.  

[1] This announcement was published on June 28, 2023, in the webpage of the Brazilian Government by means of a note entitled Governo cria Licença Flex para desburocratizar e reduzir custos de exportações e importações, which may be accessed at the following link:

Walter Stuber Consultoria Jurídica – São Paulo, Brazil 

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