flag Brazil Brazil: Trade Profile

In this page: Foreign Trade in Figures | Trade Compliance | Standards

 

Foreign Trade in Figures

Although foreign trade only represented 32.4% of its GDP in 2020 (World Bank), Brazil is among the world's 30 largest exporters and importers and the country has an enormous economic potential. Brazil mainly exports soya beans (13.7%), iron ores (12.3%), petroleum oils (9.4%), cane or beet sugar (4.2%), and frozen bovine meat (3.2%); while its main imports are petroleum oils (4.8%), parts and accessories for tractors and motor vehicles (3.2%), electrical apparatus for line telephony (2.8%), electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies (2.4%), and floating vessels (2.3%). According to IMF Foreign Trade Forecasts, the volume of exports of goods and services increased by 8.9% in 2021 and is expected to decrease to 4.1% in 2022, while the volume of imports of goods and services increased by 10.6% in 2021 and is expected to decrease to 5% in 2022

The country's main trade partners are China, the United States, Argentina, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, South Korea, Mercosur and the EU. Despite being the largest economy in Latin America and the ninth in the world, Brazil is still relatively closed compared to other large economies, with a low trade penetration and a low number of exporters relative to the population (its absolute number of exporters is roughly the same as that of Norway, a country with approximately 5 million people, compared to Brazil’s 213 million). However, the country has been implementing changes to improve trade, such as reducing the time for documentary compliance for both exporting and importing by enhancing its electronic data interchange system. In 2021, Brazilian exports to the EU grew by 17%, a rate which was only surpassed by China, making Brazil the ninth largest supplier to the European Union. Additionally, given that the EU is Brazil's second-biggest trading partner, they are working on a free trade agreement - as a part of the EU's Association Agreement negotiations with the Mercosur countries.

Brazil’s trade balance is structurally positive, but has declined in recent years due to a drop in the prices of raw materials, an increase in energy imports and a decline in the competitiveness of Brazilian products. According to the latest available data from WTO, in 2020, Brazil imported USD 166 billion and exported USD 209 billion in goods, while in services the country imported USD 47 billion and exported USD 27 billion. As a result, trade balance of goods and services amounted to USD 11,7 billion. As the world’s agricultural super power, Brazil conducts a very particular foreign trade policy, aiming at conquering markets while preserving at all cost its influential position.

 
Foreign Trade Values 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 143,474157,543188,564184,370166,276
Exports of Goods (million USD) 185,280217,739239,264225,383209,878
Imports of Services (million USD) 63,75066,29369,13167,74847,357
Exports of Services (million USD) 33,30033,67734,58233,59527,860

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 24.524.328.928.532.4
Trade Balance (million USD) 44,54457,32543,37626,54732,370
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 13,94219,0017,379-8,94211,737
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -10.36.77.71.1-10.0
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 0.94.94.1-2.4-1.8
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 12.111.814.214.415.5
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 12.512.514.614.116.9

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

 
Foreign Trade Forecasts 20212022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 9.04.24.43.54.4
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 10.75.05.04.13.8

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2020
China 32.4%
United States 10.3%
Argentina 4.1%
Netherlands 3.2%
Canada 2.0%
See More Countries 48.0%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2020
China 22.1%
United States 17.9%
Germany 5.8%
Argentina 4.9%
South Korea 2.8%
See More Countries 46.5%

Source: Comtrade, last available data

 

Main Products

209.2 bn USD of products exported in 2020
Soya beans, whether or not brokenSoya beans, whether or not broken 13.7%
Iron ores and concentrates, incl. roasted iron...Iron ores and concentrates, incl. roasted iron pyrites 12.3%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 9.4%
Cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in...Cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in solid form 4.2%
Meat of bovine animals, frozenMeat of bovine animals, frozen 3.2%
See More Products 57.3%
166.3 bn USD of products imported in 2020
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 4.8%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 3.2%
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line...Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 2.8%
Electronic integrated circuits and microassembliesElectronic integrated circuits and microassemblies 2.4%
Light-vessels, fire-floats, dredgers, floating...Light-vessels, fire-floats, dredgers, floating cranes, and other vessels the navigability of which is subsidiary to their main function; floating docks, floating or submersible drilling or production platforms (excl. fishing vessels and warships) 2.3%
See More Products 84.5%

Source: Comtrade, last available data

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import/Export Flows.

 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

 

Exchange Rate System

Local Currency
Brazilian Real (BRL)
Exchange Rate Regime
Floating exchange rate.
Level of Currency Instability
The Real has recently been subject to increased volatility. In 2015, it fell to its lowed point compared to the U.S. Dollar in a decade, due to fiscal turmoil and signs of economic contraction.
Exchange Rate on :

 
 
Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Brazilian Real (BRL) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 EUR 3.713.614.314.385.89

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 
 

Find out all the exchange rates daily on our service Currency Converter.

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Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party of the International Coffee Agreement 2007
International Economic Cooperation
Brazil is a member of the following international economic organisations: IMF, Mercosur, ICC, G-15, G-20, G-24, G-77, Latin American Integration Association (LAIA), WTO, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Brazil click here. International organisation membership of Brazil is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The complete and up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by Brazil can be consulted here.
Party of the ATA Convention on Temporary Admissions and Use of the Carnets
No

As a Reminder, the ATA is a System Allowing the Free Movement of Goods Across Frontiers and Their Temporary Admission Into a Customs Territory With Relief From Duties and Taxes. The Goods Are Covered By a Single Document Known as the ATA Carnet That is Secured By an International Guarantee System.
Look Up the Other Member Countries And Read the Web Pages of the World Customs Organization Devoted to the ATA Carnet.
Party of the TIR Convention
No

As a Reminder, the TIR Convention and its Transit Regime Contribute to the Facilitation of International Transport, Especially International Road Transport, Not Only in Europe and the Middle East, But Also in Other Parts of the World, Such as Africa and Latin America.
The UNCTAD Website Allows You to Read the TIR Convention, See the List of Member Countries And to Find Further Information.
Accompanying Documents For Imports
- single administrative document (SAD)
- commercial invoice (in triplicate, preferably in Portuguese, with a detailed description of the goods, the country of purchase, origin and provenance, tariff details, registration number in the importer's register of commerce and the classification number of the goods)
- phytosanitary or health certificate;
- free sale certificate for cosmetics;
- radioactive non-contamination certificate;
- certificate of analysis and origin for wines, consular declaration for other types of alcoholic beverages;
- transport documents and packing list.

To go further, check out our service Shipping Documents.

Free Zones
There are 8 free zones in Brazil but only the Zona Franca de Manaus has managed to attract foreign investment and experienced real economic development.
For Further Information
Customs Department
The WTO website on Brazil's commercial policy
Non Tariff Barriers
A large number of imported products are subject to a prior license application to the SECEX (Secretariat for Foreign Trade), which is the only organisation authorised to issue this license. The license is valid for 60 days from the date of shipment of the goods (sometimes from the date of the license application). This period cannot be extended and is often insufficient. A new license application must then be made. For textiles, regulations are even stricter: the license is only issued if payment is carried out within 30 days following the date of the B/L (importers have to prove that they have effectively paid within the 30 days).

All imports must be accompanied at least by 2 copies of the commercial invoice and the B/L. In the case of non-compliance with the legal requirements of the country, customs officials have the right to impose large fines (commonly, up to 100% of the usual duties). It is advisable in any case to work with a very good Brazilian Customs broker, who stays up to date on Customs regulations.

One must consult the numerous sanitary regulations before undertaking any imports.

Since Brazil has launched the Brasil Maior (Greater Brazil) plan, a rise in trade protection has been observed.

Sectors or Products For Which Commercial Disagreements Have Been Registered With the WTO
Petrol, agricultural dumping, cotton, citrus fruit, heavy industry, patents (with the United States); aeronautical construction (with Canada); coffee, poultry, sugar, heavy industry (with the European Union). Brazil is often attacked for its import restrictions and on its side makes complaints about the agricultural subsidies in the OECD countries.
Assessment of Commercial Policy
Brazil and the WTO
Barriers to exchanges, inventoried by the EU
Sanitary and phytosanitary barriers, inventoried by the EU

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Learn more about How to Export to Brazil on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

 

Standards

National Standards Organisations
Brazilian Technical Standards Association
Brazilian Committee for Standardisation in the Fields of Electricity, Electronics and Telecommunications
National Council of Metrology, Standardisation and Industrial Quality (CONMETRO)
National Institute of Metrology, Standardisation and Industrial Quality (INMETRO)
Integration in the International Standards Network
Member of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the Global Ecolabeling Network (GEN), the Pan-American Standards Commission (COPANT), the MERCOSUL Association for Standardisation (AMN) and of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), which has become the GS1 after merging with a European group (an organisation concerning logistics chains and bar codes).
Obligation to Use Standards
Conforming to standards is obligatory for some products.
For others it is voluntary. As with all voluntary standards, market forces and preferences often lead to the need for a specific certification.
Classification of Standards
ABNT, NBR standards
Assessment of the System of Standardization
The Brazilian consumer's approach is twofold: the 40 million richest Brazilians have requirements close to those of OECD countries' markets regarding the quality standards of the goods they buy. On the other hand, the rest of the population is especially careful about prices and the product's commercial image. Brasil has strict rules regarding standards and an active group of standard organizations.
Online Consultation of Standards
The ABNT Catalogue
Certification Organisations
List of organisations authorised to issue certifications

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Latest Update: May 2022