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Brazilian Customs to Manage Maritime Freight Fee; Change Expected to Speed Imports

Monday, June 30, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

A recent administrative change could reduce the time necessary to clear imports into Brazil while lowering government costs. Effective June 3, Brazilian Customs (RFB) has assumed management, including collection and audit responsibilities, of the AFRMM (additional freight to the merchant maritime renovation) fee assessed on imports entering Brazilian territory by sea. The non-recoverable AFRMM is set at 25% of the international freight amount declared in the shipping documents and represents one of the highest costs for Brazilian importers. The fee had previously been regulated by the Ministry of Transport, which will continue to analyze and approve AFRMM claims for repayment filed by importers up to May 29, 2014.

The release of imported cargo in Brazil is often delayed as a result of the numerous agencies involved, but the centralization of responsibility for the AFRMM with the RFB is expected to both streamline the import process for Brazilian importers and reduce government costs. For example, RFB will now handle the registration of shipping agencies and consignees in the “Mercante” system (which electronically manages the AFRMM) as well as applications for AFRMM suspension or exemption (e.g., in the case of duty drawback). However, users of the “Mercante” system must be aware that all information related to the AFRMM due upon importation must now be provided prior to the filing of the import declaration.

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