Brazil issues new regulationon the organizational structure of foreign trade authorities


In brief

Last Friday, March 3, Brazil issued two new decrees regarding the organizational structure and attributions 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 others, defining Brazil’s foreign trade policies, including the application of trade defense measures.

More details

Decree No. 11,428, dated of March 2, 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 or definitive antidumping duties and countervailing measures, as well as safeguards. GECEX will be presided by the Minister of MDIC and its other members will be the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Executive Secretaries of CAMEX itself (without a voting right), of the Chief of Staff Office, and of 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 minimum quorum of five members, being that decisions require a simple majority of votes. In case of a tie, the Minister of MDIC has the casting vote, in addition to his ordinary vote (as per the previous regime, the casting vote was bestowed on CAMEX Strategic Council).

The Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency – Apex-Brasil kept its permanent seat in GECEX meetings, being allowed to express its opinions, although deprived from voting rights. The Administrative Council for Economic Defense – CADE, on the other hand, is no longer a permanent guest to 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 March 9, 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, from SECEX, also continues to be the competent body to conduct trade defense and public interest investigations. In relation to public interest investigations, it s 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 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 maters, will now meet every three months, which tends to expedite pleas directed to this body. Under the previous regulation, the meetings of the Strategic Council were held only twice a year.
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