Import regulations in Brazil – an overview of Inmetro.
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Import regulations in Brazil – an overview of Inmetro.

The Brazilian retail market is increasingly gaining in importance and potential among the global sales markets for automobile manufacturers. Like many other markets, Brazil has its own local regulations, which are intended to guarantee the quality and safety of imported products. In order to ensure a smooth and sustainable import, it is essential to understand the national regulations and to adapt one's own processes accordingly.

Significance and background of Inmetro

The National Institute of Metrology Standardization and Industrial Quality (Inmetro) is a federally independent authority affiliated with the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade (MDIC). One of Inmetro’s central tasks is to implement and ensure national standards for metrology and quality. Within these national standards, certain product categories are defined for which a quality inspection must be carried out in accordance with the country-specific standards. Compliance with these standards is certified after successful verification on the basis of an inmetro certificate, which opens access to the import and distribution of the products in the Brazilian market.

Inmetro for automotive products

For automotive products, the product catalogue comprises the following safety-relevant product categories: AdBlue, brake fluid, rims, pistons, piston pins, piston rings, fuel pumps, bearing shells, steering rods, motorcycle components, friction lining material, tyres, safety glazing, signal horns, track rods, track rod heads, starter batteries and shock absorbers.

The legal background is regulated in a so-called “ordinance”. These documents contain references to the technical implementation as well as information on the marking of the components and possible exceptions. Product tests by a test institute accredited by the certification authority as well as an audit of the production site are required for certification in accordance with the rules. After successful completion of the certification process, the manufacturer of the component receives a certificate with a validity of four years. If the components have been marked correctly, nothing stands in the way of a successful import.

Implementation and realisation

Due to strict consumer protection guidelines in Brazil, manufacturers and importers are exposed to several risks at the same time in the event of poor implementation. On the one hand, due to the applicable import regulations and the associated ranking, which can have a direct impact on the import process. On the other hand, the risk of imminent claims for damages against the OEM should an end customer not be able to be supplied with the appropriate products within the legally prescribed periods in the event of a defect. This can even extend to the right of the end customer to withdraw completely from the sales contract with the obligation to take back the vehicle and deliver a new one.
Certification checks can be carried out both directly on import of the components and on distribution from regional distribution centres to local dealers.

High risks of poor implementation.

No rule without exception

The numerous product categories and their respective forms of implementation are based on overarching exemptions, which can be advantageous especially for low-sales components. For example, in addition to the possibility of a minimum quantity regulation, an exception based on the sales price or the performance class of the associated vehicle model must also be considered as a permissible import regulation.

As both the development of certification requirements and exemptions is dynamic and new product categories are expected to be added or exemptions modified, a high level of attention should be paid to the market. In the near past, for example, a draft law on the certification of trailer hitches has been passed, which could enter into force in the near future.

Targeted use of the exceptions saves complete certification.

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Marco Mauler
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