Following suggestions are based on the inputs that the Consulate has received from time to time from various sources and being included here for the general reference of Exhibitors visiting Brazil. However, any action on the count of despatch of samples / exhibits has to be an individual decision for which the Consulate would not be responsible in whatsoever way.
With the above caveat stressed, this Consulate suggests the following in respect of dispatch of samples from India from exhibitors participating in Trade Fairs/Expositions in Brazil:
All shipments, whether by sea freight or air freight, should be in the name of the official freight forwarder designated by the event organizers for the Show and done in time to meet various deadlines which are very stringent.
Sea-freight requires minimum two clear months for shipment and subsequent clearance here. (1) Wherever possible, the individual sample loads should be clubbed together by the event organizer in (exhibitor’s) home country to make it as one containerized shipment in the name of freight forwarder of the (exhibition’s) host country to facilitate easy clearance and also cut costs of shipping the goods. (2) The nodal agency, if any, bringing the exhibitors delegation would then have, as an unintended but yet crucial advantage, better control on the quality of the stalls / exhibits (avoiding empty stalls as is the unavoidable fate if one keeps taking confirmations of participation till the last minute missing many important deadlines including in respect of timely despatch of samples).
Air freight clearance requires at least 15 clear days after arrival for paperwork and clearance; hence the reason that most Exhibitions demand despatch of Air freight latest by D-30. The air cargo is subject to elaborate custom procedures for temporary imports and documentation requirements, and thus it is advisable to engage a customs broker for the purpose; for exhibitors, designated freight forwarder for the exhibition’s services should be utilized for facilitation of timely delivery of samples after customs clearance. The clearance of cargo is on first cum first serve basis; there is no fast track procedure available for custom clearance of consignments. Thus enough lead time has to be built to allow for all the delays.
Some courier companies (DHL/UPS etc) undertake to send packages (e.g. 25 Kgs) on duty-payable-by-the-sender-on-actual--basis from India to Brazil. The packages can be addressed to the hotel where the exhibitor is going to stay. The company in India commits to pay whatever duty that is levied on the packages containing trade samples.
Hand-carriage of samples, as is attempted by those who miss on the deadlines of sea/air-freight, is not a secure method but a means of last resort followed with known risks of held up samples. A lot depends upon the discretion used by the official of the day. Overall result has been mixed with some successfully getting the samples in the stalls while yet others, though few, unable to get anything. That said, it has been informally told to us that hand carriage of commercial samples is allowed without duty or quantity limits so long as the samples are fully declared. The passenger (exhibitor bringing samples) needs to carry the baggage through ‘’goods to declare’ channel after immigration at the airport. The customs declaration document is available both on board the aircraft and at the customs area at the airport. The importer has to carry a letter from the company he represents on the company letterhead stating all the details of samples being carried, namely the name, date and venue of fair in which the representative is participating, detailed information such as type and quantity of the samples carried as also the name and passport particulars of the company representative carrying the samples. The said letter has to also have Portuguese version. The samples brought in are subject to re-export. Therefore the declaration form should be filled in duplicate: one copy will be retained by the customs at the time of clearance of samples, and another copy will be handed over to the representative; it is the latter (second) copy that would be required at the time of departure of the representative: he will need to present this document to the customs office at the airport for re-export of samples.
Further, we informally learn that some exhibitors had to pay duty on the products they were hand-carrying when the value was more than what is admissible under free import (around US$500).
Customsand officialdom in Brazil are very strict leaving practically no leverage with others in respect of any flexibility in timelines or documentary requirements. There is no fallback option in case something goes wrong; specifically much that the Consulate may wish to help, it would not be possible for us to secure any relief, given none of the authorities on the spot change their position or mind once they take a stand.
All documentation relating to samples /exhibits / publicity material / brochures need to be carried in Portuguese too for better communication and for avoiding misunderstanding at customs etc.