Renata Garcia

Renata Garcia

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Export Processing Zones in Brazil

Renata Garcia

Renata Garcia

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


The Export Processing Zones, or Zona de Processamento de Exportação-ZPE in Portuguese, is the instrument commonly used across the globe to attract investors, increase the number of employees and disseminate new technologies and modern management practices.

ZPEs are international free trades zones for the installation of companies focused on the production of goods for export. Companies registered as ZPEs have benefits such as tax relief granted by the Federal Government, on the condition that at least 80% of its production is directed at the international market. The benefits are guaranteed for 20 years and include:

Exemption of taxes & duties on domestic goods

Exemption of taxes & duties on imported goods

  • Import Tax
  • Tax on Imported Freight
  • Tax on Industrialized Products
  • Contribution to Social Security Financing
  • Contribution to the Social Integration Program and Civil Service Asset Formation Program

Additional benefits for companies registered as ZPEs

  • Industrial projects established at the Development Superintendence of the Amazon and at the Development Superintendence of the Northeast can apply for up to 75% of income tax exemption
  • In its imports and exports, companies are exempt from licenses or permits from Federal agencies, as long as they are not related to the control of health policy, interests of national security or environmental protection
  • Exemption of ICMSrate

Setting up a company as a ZPE

To establish a company as a ZPE you are required to submit a project proposal to the National Council of Export Processing Zones-CZPE. The proposal must present general information about the company, project characteristics, market studies and economic and financial aspects. The industrial installation project needs to show the origin of capital goods and inputs, in absolute value, separated into domestic or imported.

The proposal must be accompanied by a document signed by the Administrator or the legal representative of the ZPE to which they are intended, expressing acceptance of the proposal. In addition, it must include a list of products to be manufactured according to their NCM classification.

The CZPE analyze the proposal in accordance with the government priorities, particularly those contained in the productive development policy and value of total investments of the company that intends to operate in a ZPE. After the approval the company have 90 days to establish into the ZPE.

Difference between ZPE and Free Trade Zone

There are some differences between ZPE and the Free Trade Zone, the latter benefits more cities and has the legal security of stability of incentives, since these are established in a law that can only be changed by National Congress. Another important difference is that the model of the Free Trade area, does not allow control by groups that manipulate incentives indirectly.

ZPEs in Brazil

Currently there are three Export Processing Zones with industrial projects approved by the National Council of ZPEs. These are located in the Northeast (Ceará and Piauí) and North (Acre) regions. Another 22 industrial complexes, in 18 states, are still in pre-operational phase. These are the ZPEs per region:


States: Acre (in operation), Roraima and Pará


States: Bahia, Sergipe, Ceará (in operation), Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Norte, Maranhão, Tocantins and Piauí (in operation)

Central West

States: Mato Grosso do Sul and Mato Grosso


States: Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Minas Gerais


State: Santa Catarina