GENEVA — With its burgeoning economy, many brands are looking to make inroads into the Brazilian market, but it isn’t easy.
The South American country’s difficult barriers for exporters were highlighted at a recent review of its trade regime at the World Trade Organization. Trading partners including the U.S., the European Union and China have called on Brazil to put an end to protectionist measures such as tariff hikes and restrictive regulations that hinder international competition and spike business costs.
“U.S. exporters face significant uncertainty in the Brazilian market,” David Shark, deputy U.S. permanent representative to the WTO, said late last month. “This uncertainty is amplified by the frequent changes in tariffs made by the Brazilian government to protect domestic industries from import competition.”
Shark said Brazil should act to liberalize trade “by lowering tariffs” and noted that last October, “Brazil increased tariffs to a maximum of 35 percent on 100 industrial products. These tariff hikes could adversely affect Brazil’s competitiveness.” He said they also “create an unpredictable business environment for importers and exporters, and have a chilling effect on investment.”
Despite recent political unrest that began last month over bus and subway fare hikes in São Paulo and grew into massive nationwide demonstrations against government corruption, high taxes and poor public services, but have since subsided, Brazil, along with Russia, India and China, is among what have been dubbed the BRIC countries, representing the fastest-growing emerging economies.
A report compiled by the WTO for the review shows Brazil’s average applied most favored nation tariff in 2012 was 11.7 percent, up from 11.5 percent in 2008, and points out the manufacturing sector benefits “from the highest tariff protection,” with an average applied tariff of 12 percent, up from 11.8 percent in 2008.
The WTO also reveals that Brazil imposes much higher tariffs on imports of textiles and apparel. In 2012, for 790 textile lines, tariffs averaged 22.7 percent, and for 251 apparel lines, tariffs averaged 35 percent, substantially higher than the 12 percent average for all manufactured goods.
The EU’s WTO ambassador, Angelos Pangratis, also criticized Brazil’s determination “to pursue an increasingly protectionist industrial policy.”
“EU entrepreneurs in Brazil are faced with heavy bureaucracy, complex and not always transparent regulation and legislation, late noticing of changes in import-rate rules and labeling requirements, high transactions costs and unpredictability when dealing with Customs authorities,” Pangratis said.
Countries such as Canada, China and Pakistan were critical of amendments made by Brazil in 2010 that mandate preferential margins of 8 to 25 percent for some goods and services in government procurement for goods produced by Brazilian firms or companies that have invested in Brazil. Under the scheme, textiles and apparel are given a preferential margin of 20 percent over foreign competitors.
Yi Xiaozhun, China’s WTO ambassador, indicated his country’s concerns about Brazil’s heavy use of trade remedies, such as antidumping investigations.
Paulo Estivallet de Mesquita, director-general at Brazil’s ministry of external relations, countered that his country has remained open to trade and noted imports of industrial goods increased at an annual rate of 16.2 percent from 2007 and 2012. In 2012, Brazil’s merchandise exports were $242.5 billion, up from $160.6 billion in 2007, and its imports reached $223.1 billion, up from $120.6 billion.
Last year, exports of textiles were worth $970 million, down from $1.4 billion in 2007, while imports reached $4.2 billion, up from $2.1 billion in 2007. For apparel, exports totaled $242.5 million, down from $321.7 million in 2007, but imports surged to $2.4 billion from $603 million in 2007.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye