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Slow operation of tax auditors in customs delays imports


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Importing companies from at least four Brazilian cities are already complaining about delays in the entry of goods after the tax auditors started a slow operation in the cargo clearance processes at airports, ports and borders.

According to Sindifisco (National Union of Federal Revenue Auditors), there are records of complaints in Santos (SP), Manaus (AM), Uruguaiana (RS) and Foz do Iguaçu (PR).

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The clearance of goods through customs has taken longer since Sindifisco approved the so-called standard operation at customs posts. This process consists of slower and more rigorous inspection.

With the standard operation, which started on the 27th, the tendency is for the slow release of goods to cause shortages in the market.

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Workers demand that the government regulate the category’s efficiency bonus, open a public tender to restore the agency’s staff and review the wage freeze, which has not been readjusted since 2016.

The movement of fiscal auditors took place after Congress approved the Budget for 2022. Deputies and senators responded to the request of President Jair Bolsonaro (PL), who provided for a salary increase for the police officers, his political base, in an election year.

“The standard operation in ports, airports and borders is the last resort of tax auditors so that they give due importance to the country’s customs tax inspection”, says Kleber Cabral, president of Sindifisco Nacional.

The auditors left out of the turtle operation hospital products and perishable cargo. Movement should also focus on goods, not affecting passengers at airports or travelers at borders.

A customs broker in Manaus, which provides services for releasing imported goods to companies in the Free Zone, for example, is one of those who have already sent messages to the Revenue Office, pointing out delays in the clearance of cargo.

This Tuesday (28), at a meeting between Sindifisco and auditors stationed at customs at the Port of Santos, it was decided that the movement will be fierce and that the collective delivery of positions should continue in the coming days.

​Until now, the delivery of positions has had the adhesion of 738 auditors in management positions, with 93% of delegates in the country. All areas are affected, with emphasis on customs, ports and airports, and border points in the country, with greater slowness in imports and exports, says Sindifisco.

“In practice, the decision means that the analysis, selection and distribution of import declarations, the so-called DIs, will be carried out in a more judicious manner, which will lead to greater delays in the flow of foreign trade in the country”, says the organization.

According to Welber Baral, consultant and former Foreign Trade secretary, it is positive that the servers have pledged not to delay the movement of passengers at airports, but the operation will impact cargo, which ends up being a loss for the population and industry.

“It’s a shame, because the population ends up being used as a hostage in a fight between auditors and the federal government”, he says.

According to Barral, based on past experiences, the greatest impact occurs five days after the start of the slower operation. “At other times, when the Revenue was on strike for more than 15 days, the Manaus Free Trade Zone even closed. The impact will depend on how long the slowdown will last.”

The analyst adds that, normally, the industrial sectors — such as equipment, the chemical industry and electronics — are the most affected by movements like this, as they depend more on “just in time” (production system according to demand ).

The effect, therefore, could be felt in the semiconductor chain, which was already harmed during the pandemic, affecting segments of the automotive and electronics industry, among others.

For the president of the AEB (Association of Foreign Trade of Brazil), José Augusto de Castro, delays will be inevitable and the damages go beyond the delay in the clearance of goods.

“At this moment, it is impossible to quantify the impact that the operation will bring to imports, especially in manufactured products, which have a slower release. But there is also a loss of image. If the ships experience difficulty in loading, they set sail and leave the merchandise in Brazil.”

Castro agrees that the difficulty in importing semiconductors can be aggravated by the delay in releasing goods and the increase in storage costs for these products. “Import will become more expensive.”


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