The import of perishable products is subject to special treatment and supervision since these goods are more sensitive to external factors. In this article, we will take a look at the import of perishable products.
Anvisa, which is the National Health Surveillance Agency in Brazil, and MAPA, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply are all integrated in the Sistema Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária, which is Portuguese for National System of Health Surveillance, SNVS. The SNVS is the entity responsible for supervising the sanitary, phytosanitary and quality conditions under which the following perishable products arrive in Brazil:
- Flowers and plants
- Serums and vaccines
- Artificial and natural biological products
- Health products
- Cosmetics, perfumes and hygiene products
Necessary documentation and procedures
Before importing any product to Brazil, the importer needs to be registered with Siscomex, which is the Brazilian Foreign Trade Integrated System, where all foreign trade operations are registered and tracked by the Receita Federal, the Brazilian Federal Revenue.
An Import Declaration is to be registered with Siscomex before the imported products are loaded abroad. In order to get an Import Declaration, the following documents need to be presented:
- Original bill of lading
- Original commercial invoice signed by the exporter
- Packing list where applicable
Perishable products are not subject to import authorization by the Brazilian Government prior to the loading of the products abroad, but the importer is still required to request an Import License that will be automatically granted. Before issuing the Import License, MAPA or Anvisa, depending on which product is being imported, will detail what treatment will be dealt to the cargo when it is unloaded in Brazil. Ambiguities in Brazilian law may even make it necessary to specify the products with both entities.
After the customs clearance process is completed and the respective taxes are duly paid, a Proof of Import is issued to the importer, effectively promoting the nationalization of the imported products. This is an electronic document issued by the Federal Revenue.
When dealing with Anvisa to import perishable products, the importing company must present the following documentation to the sanitary inspection that will be conducted by Anvisa, before the customs clearance of the product:
- Petition for Sanitary Inspection and Release of Imported Goods
- Guia de Recolhimento also known as Collection Form
- Operating License (Permit) issued by the State, County or Federal District health authority
- Access authorization for physical inspection
- Import Declaration number
- Waybill of cargo shipped
- Commercial Invoice
- Certificate of Quality Control
When dealing with other Mercosul countries, a Certificate of Origin is required for the import of perishable products.
Perishable products are exceptionally sensitive to the conditions under which they are handled and generally need to be transported as soon as possible and are therefore given priority treatment.
Anticipating customs clearance
The Federal Revenue grants an authorization for the importer to anticipate the customs clearance of the imported perishable products in a process called Despacho Aduaneiro Antecipado.
In these special cases, the company responsible for the import of such goods is permitted to register the Import Declaration at SISCOMEX before the cargo is unloaded in Brazil. Thus, the goods can be cleared from customs as soon as the involved authorizing agencies have supervised the goods and the documentation is verified.
This kind of priority treatment is granted to the following products and operations:
- Perishable or short validity products
- Live animals or plants
- Fresh fruits
- Dangerous, corrosive, radioactive or flammable cargo
- Goods transported by land or river
- Goods transported in bulk, for which the discharge should be made directly to pipeline terminals or silos
- Paper for book, magazines and newspapers
Anticipating the Import License
The Federal Revenue can anticipate the process of granting an Import License for the importer of perishable products in the following scenarios:
- There is no availability of a storage unit that complies with the minimum necessary requirements for storing the perishable products imposed by the manufacturer for the maintenance, safety and health integrity of the products
- There is insufficient storage capacity in the customs unit where the perishable products would be transported to
- Import by public entities or mixed capital companies