Igor Utsumi

Igor Utsumi

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Bringing Food and Beverage Samples to Brazil

Igor Utsumi

Igor Utsumi

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Sometimes, it is necessary to import products in smaller quantities before bringing a large load of products to Brazil. This article will show what is necessary to import food and beverage samples.

A sample is the quantity of any product or raw material that is analyzed to determine its nature or quality, usually brought to Brazil before a large quantity of that product is imported.

A sample might also be a certain product amount that is requested by entities such as the National Health Surveillance Agency, better known for its acronym, Anvisa, or by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply, known as MAPA. This amount might be analyzed to verify if the product in question can circulate through the country without harming anything or anyone.

Since samples will not be sold, there are some privileges, like the exemption of an import license and, in some cases, of certain taxes.

Types Of Samples

Samples can be categorized as:

  • With commercial value
  • Without commercial value

If a certain amount of a product is classified as a sample with commercial value, standard taxes and fees for imported products are applied.

Without Commercial Value

Samples without commercial value are the ones that are imported either, strictly, to know its attributes or they cannot be used to obtain profits. They also have a Free On Board (FOB) value lower than USD 10. In this case, samples are exempted from the import tax, II, and also from the tax on industrialized products, IPI.

They might also be shipped by a Declaração Simplificada de Importação, or DSI, which is essentially a simpler form, approved way faster by the Brazilian Customs than a conventional Import Declaration.

In this case, the sample cannot have a market value of more than USD 1,000, if a form-DSI is filled, or cannot surpass the value of BRL 3,000, if an electronic-DSI is filled. Above these values, the product must be imported as regular cargo.

Amounts Allowed

Defining which samples belong to each category are part of a subjective process, not rarely resulting in discussions by importers.

According to the Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry, and Foreign Trade, the acronym of which is MDIC, there is no legal standard, at all, that defines what a sample is, so, basically, governmental bodies make this decision.

There are, though, some rules applied specifically for each type of product. According to Professor João Bizelli, lawyer and instructor of Aduaneiras, importers must bring, exactly, the quantity needed, “or, they might end up being dispatched as regular cargo”.

Authorizations from Entities

Some samples might be selected for an inspection, in order to be approved. In these cases, even if the quantity is considerably small, documents must be presented to a governmental body or agency.

Some procedures are adopted by Anvisa in order to prevent any damage to the country, caused by infections or other threats.

If a verification is requested by the Agency, the documents that must be presented to Anvisa when importing food samples are:

  • Statement of Responsibility, with notarized signatures from the legally responsible and technician
  • Power of attorney signed by the legal representative
  • Sanitary license number, which can be found on the waybill
  • Technical Term of Responsibility (ART), made by the technician
  • State Revenue Collection Guide (GRU), including proof of payment
  • Petition of Fiscalization, signed by the legal representative

It is important to remember that the sample’s finality — e.g. analysis, quality test, package test, development of new products — must be described in the Statement of Responsibility.

These procedures are similar to the ones adopted by MAPA. The main difference is that, the Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for products of animal origin or derivatives from milk.

Types of Importation Process

Samples can be legally imported in two different ways:

Even though it is a common practice in Brazil, importing samples via hand carried luggage is forbidden. If detected, the goods must be declared at the Customs, and a fee must be paid. According to Bizelli, “some choose to import samples as personal luggage, even though it is not the right way to do it. This is especially true when it comes to food and beverage samples, which might be controlled by governmental entities, and, usually, have a stricter fiscalization”.

Importing via Siscomex

This solution requires a longer list of documents and procedures, and usually demands more time. It follows the procedures that are used, essentially, to import anything in Brazil.

Importing via Courier

Food and beverage samples without commercial purpose might be imported via courier. In this case, even if the importation is made using the DSI form, the company must also present the LSI, a simpler import license, which means Licença Simplificada de Importação.