Brazil: Foreign trade policy authorities restructured

In brief

On Friday, 3 March, Brazil issued two new decrees regarding the organizational structure and attributes of the Foreign Trade Chamber (CAMEX) and the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade (MDIC). These are the two main bodies responsible for, among other things, defining Brazil's foreign trade policies, including the application of trade defense measures.


In depth

Decree No. 11,428, dated 2 March 2023, concerning CAMEX, came into force on the date of its publication, revoking Decree No. 10,044/2019, issued by the previous administration. The new decree reflects the structure of ministries reintroduced by the current administration, restoring the major role played by MDIC in the definition of the country's trade policies.

The Executive Committee (GECEX) continues to be the competent authority within CAMEX to establish provisional and definitive antidumping duties, countervailing measures, and safeguards. 

GECEX will be supervised by the Minister of the MDIC. Its other members will consist of the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Executive Secretaries of CAMEX itself (without a voting right) and the Chief of Staff Office, and six other ministries, namely Finance; Agriculture and Livestock; Planning and Budget; Management and Innovation in Public Services; Defense; and Mines and Energy. GECEX meetings will continue to be held monthly with a required quorum of five members, with decisions requiring a simple majority of votes. In the case of a tie, the minister of the MDIC has the casting vote in addition to their ordinary vote (the casting vote was bestowed on CAMEX Strategic Council during the previous regime).

The Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency ("Apex-Brasil") kept its permanent seat in GECEX meetings and is allowed to express its opinions, but is deprived of its voting rights. The Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE), on the other hand, is no longer a permanent guest in GECEX meetings. Nonetheless, the generic provision authorizing the president of GECEX to invite, if necessary, other authorities and entities of the federal public administration to participate in its meetings, without voting rights, remains.

Under Decree No. 11,427, issued on the same date, but scheduled to enter into force on 9 March, the decision to open investigations concerning unfair international trade practices and correlated public interest assessments remains within the purview of the Secretary of Foreign Trade (SECEX) of the MDIC. The Trade Defense Department (DECOM) of SECEX also continues to be the competent body to conduct trade defense and public interest investigations. In relation to public interest investigations, it is assumed that GECEX will continue to issue the final decisions in these cases, although there is no explicit provision in this regard in Decree No. 11,428/2023 (note that the previous regulation was also silent in this respect).

Finally, it is worth noting that the CAMEX Strategic Council, to whom Decree No. 11,428/2023 explicitly attributed the competence to ultimately decide administrative appeals filed against GECEX decisions on trade defense matters, will now meet every three months, which tends to expedite pleas directed at this body. Under the previous regulation, the meetings of the CAMEX Strategic Council were held only twice a year.

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Trench Rossi Watanabe and Baker McKenzie have executed a strategic cooperation agreement for consulting on foreign law.

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