Preparing to export to Brazil

Start-up considerations

Thinking through the questions below will help you gain a clearer idea of what you want to achieve, and will enable you to focus your research. However, before you begin there are some things to bear in mind.

There is the size of the country; Brazil is often described as a continent within a continent. São Paulo state alone is about the size of Great Britain. All of Western Europe would comfortably fit into Brazil with room to spare! Brazil consists of 26 administrative states and the Federal District of Brasília, all with their own character, traditions and economic profiles.

As a country of such magnitude and diversity, Brazil presents enormous potential for companies with persistence who are willing to invest time, money and effort. If you expect quick and easy results, you are likely to be disappointed.

Until comparatively recently, Brazil’s broad industrial base supplied the domestic market. Although some of the larger multinationals such as GM, VW, Ericsson, Siemens and Fiat have been there for much longer, it was only at the beginning of the 1990s that Brazil’s economy began to liberalise and open up to significant foreign industrial trade and investment. Brazil has been an agricultural exporter for much longer, but it is only recently that it has begun exporting large amounts of industrial and manufactured goods.

Today, Brazil is asserting its presence on the world stage as an emerging power and is enjoying its first sustained period of export-led growth in 20 years. Consumers and businesses have developed higher standards both for quality and value for money and Brazil has a large and prosperous middle class with an appetite for quality goods and services every bit as demanding as the consumer in London, Paris or New York. Against this background, Brazil has immense potential as a trade and investment partner, with huge opportunities for UK companies across a range of sectors.


Taking a strategic approach

Doing business in Brazil can seem daunting for those new to the market, but taking a strategic approach is the key to making the process manageable. It is important to take a medium to long term view as success in Brazil requires commitment and patience. Brazil is one of the most promising and exciting major developing markets. However, it presents challenges in practical areas, such as communications, travel, product delivery and aftersales service. If, after your initial background research, Brazil forms part of your strategic plan for overseas development, then you are ready to start the next phase: market research.

In many sectors Brazil is already a well-developed market. You may find that your competitors are already there and that competition is fierce. As in any new market, you will need to use your competitive advantages to the full and it is important to know which ones will be the most effective in Brazil.

You will need to research the market to identify the level of demand for your product and to decide whether you should address the market as a whole or via specific niches. Your initial research should tell you:

  • whether there is a market for your product in Brazil

  • if you should be targeting particular niches

  • if you can be competitive in Brazil

UK Trade & Investment can help you with market research through its Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) – see the UK Trade & Investment services section below for further details.

Once you have confirmed that there is a market for your product in Brazil, you may want to use the information you have gathered as a basis for developing a formal Brazil strategy. This strategy should address questions such as the form of market entry (i.e. setting up a subsidiary, using a distributor or an agent, joint ventures, etc.), identification of customers, potential partners, geographical locations, sales structure, product delivery, payment channels and after-sales set up.

You may want to spend some time looking at the points below to help focus your thoughts.

What is the right approach to Brazil?

  • Leave your preconceptions at home.

  • It is all too easy to be dazzled or overawed by Brazil, but keep hold of your business sense as tightly as you would anywhere else.

  • Do your homework on the market and on potential partners.

  • Patience is a virtue. Some things may take longer to set up than you expect (especially if they involve bureaucracy), so allow for this in your preparations.

  • Take a long-term approach, but do not always stick too rigidly to your plans. Things often change rapidly and unexpectedly in Brazil. Brazilians are flexible, and famous for finding a way around problems.

  • Obtaining good-quality independent legal and professional advice is essential.

  • If your product is in danger of being copied or counterfeited, seek specialist legal advice on how best to protect your intellectual property rights.

  • Do not forget to carry out due diligence.

  • Consult UK Trade & Investment teams in Brazil and the UK who can provide help in researching the Brazilian market.


Consultation and bespoke research

You will be able to find much valuable free information from carrying out desk research. A good place to start is the UK Trade & Investment website, which provides detailed country and sector information. Registering on the website, which is free, provides you with a number of additional benefits, such as access to business opportunities, sector and market reports, and information alerts. You can choose the information you receive.

Once you have gained a clearer idea of the Brazilian market and what you want to achieve, it is time to start exploring what kind of tailored research you might need to make an effective entry into the market, and to find the right customer or partner. You can commission a wide range of information about the Brazilian market from UK Trade & Investment through your local International Trade Adviser or directly from UK Trade & Investment’s team in Brazil.


Help available for you

UK Trade & Investment officers in Brazil provide tailor-made information for UK-based companies at a highly subsidised rate. This may include:

  • basic market information

  • identification and assessment of potential agents or distributors

  • customised local contact lists

  • market assessment of the goods or services to be exported

  • advice on the best market approach

  • information about potential local business contacts

  • advice on the Brazilian marketing environment

  • general information on local investment opportunities

The service can be tailored to your particular needs. If in doubt, please ask UKTI – they will be happy to help.

In England, UK Trade & Investment provides support for companies through a network of international trade teams based in the English regions. UK Trade & Investment services are also available to companies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. As well as providing general help and advice on all aspects of exporting, the trade teams run a range of roadshows, seminars and other events on Brazil and other markets. To find your nearest International Trade Adviser, call +44 (0)20 7215 8000 or enter your postcode in the Local Trade Team Finder at:

There are also dedicated UK Trade & Investment teams in Brazil that frequently help UK companies to do business there. Where you feel that you need assistance, UK Trade & Investment is able to provide in-depth consultancy services at heavily-subsidised rates. They can do much of this work without you needing to be there, therefore reducing the cost of your market research.


UK Trade & Investment services

UK Trade & Investment can provide a variety of services prior to you visiting Brazil:

Market overview: Sector information and statistics.

Market analysis: Market information, specific to your product or service, e.g. analysis of competitors, the marketing environment, opportunities, prospects and evaluation of market entry strategies.

Initial list of potential business contacts: Tailored lists of named individuals and verified contact details, with brief pen pictures, generic market contacts such as local chambers.

List of potential business partners: List of named individuals and their contact details. Detailed pen pictures. Sectoral and market contacts, such as local chambers and industry associations. Mailing of brochures, visiting local contacts, and passing-on expressions of interest.

General local market introductions: Introductions to other local market contacts, decision-makers and opinion formers, e.g. local chambers of commerce, UK and Brazilian trade associations, importers’ associations, etc.

Additional in-depth assessment of selected potential business partners: Target contacts shortlisted by client from a list of potential business partners identified by UK Trade & Investment in Brazil and/or in response to expressions of interest. Typically, this would include information on premises, e.g. warehousing facilities, distribution and transport networks, partnerships or relationships with other businesses, local reputation, banker’s details and signposting to local credit agencies.

Information about the credit status of a company can be obtained at an additional cost, payable separately.

Counselling/mentoring by staff: One-on-one advice by email, telephone, fax or video conferencing.

In-market support: You can also take advantage of UK Trade & Investment’s services when the time is right to visit. The following are examples:

Face-to-face, pre-visit briefing and post-visit debriefing, including some post-visit follow-up support.

Appointment-making with selected contacts and potential business partners: Assistance in making visit appointments with target contacts shortlisted by the client from a list of potential business partners identified by UK Trade & Investment, and/or in response to expressions of interest.

Assistance with arranging local transport, guides, interpreters or other local support: Advice and costings or estimates only. Charges are the client’s responsibility and costs will be paid direct to the service providers.

Assistance with the organisation of promotional events: Promotional support during your visit to the market, including use of official premises (e.g. conference room, embassy or British Ambassador’s residence) as appropriate and subject to availability and local charges.

Assistance with marketing and public relations: Preparation of a pre-visit press release and distribution to the general and specialist press, local websites and local contacts. Assistance in arranging interviews and press conferences. Suggestion of appropriate marketing outlets. Assistance with preparation of promotional leaflets, where appropriate.

Follow-up monitoring of opportunities/leads: Alerting clients to relevant local opportunities, projects or tenders of which staff become aware, for a period following a visit. The cost of UK Trade & Investment services depends on the time invested in research or spent undertaking these activities. Details of the rates are available from

In addition to this support, which is offered as the Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS), the following fully-funded or subsidised services are also available from UK Trade & Investment:

Information and opportunities:

1) Export Marketing Research Scheme – this service provides companies with market research to assist in the development of a marketing strategy. It is managed by the British Chambers of Commerce.

2) Business Opportunities – free internet-based service matching UK companies with international opportunities identified by trade and investment teams overseas.

3) The UK Trade & Investment High-Growth Markets Programme – helps UK companies to capitalise on major commercial opportunities in some of the world's fastest-growing markets.

It selectively targets midcorporate companies with the potential to enter or expand in 17 designated high-growth markets (including Brazil) and aims to:

  • develop and deliver support services tailored to the needs of individual companies

  • enable the sharing of experiences and lessons learned from exporters in these markets

  • provide intelligence about specific opportunities in particular high-growth markets.

For more information on how the High-Growth Markets Programme can support your company’s objectives in Brazil, speak to your local International Trade Adviser or visit:

4) Aid-Funded Business – advice on business opportunities that are created through Multilateral Development Agency projects.

Making it happen:

5) Visiting the market – taking part in overseas events such as trade shows or missions is an effective way for you to test markets, attract customers, appoint agents or distributors and make sales. UK Trade & Investment helps companies to attend trade shows worldwide and take part in trade missions to overseas markets.

6) If your company is small or medium-sized and Brazil is a new market for you then you may be eligible for financial support to visit the country under UK Trade & Investment’s Market Visit Support scheme.

7) Export Communications Review – assessment of your company’s export communications, followed by practical recommendations for improvement (managed by the British Chambers of Commerce).

Your International Trade Adviser will be able to provide you with further information on UK Trade & Investment services. See the Resources section at the end of this guide.


Private sector assistance

In addition to the services of UK Trade & Investment, a wide variety of nonsubsidised private sector advice is available for companies wishing to do business in Brazil. This ranges from the business services provided by the big international professional services firms to specific services provided by specialist operators. Companies such as PwC, KPMG, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Serasa and HSBC provide reports on the Brazilian economy.

The range of services available from the private sector includes company structuring advice, marketing, translation and interpreting, website design, partner selection, due diligence, legal services, advice on intellectual property rights and outsourcing. Some consultancies also offer more in-depth assistance on developing a strategy for Brazil and operational management.

The British Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Brazil (Britcham) also provides services to UK companies. It is headquartered in São Paulo and has branches in Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre. It has a long history of assisting UK companies and works closely with UK Trade & Investment. Britcham organises events on topics of interest to business, providing valuable networking opportunities.

British Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Britcham)

Tel: +55 11 3819 0265




Legal advice

The importance of good-quality independent legal advice, as in any foreign market, cannot be emphasised enough. It is essential to take this into consideration at the early stages of doing business in Brazil. Always seek good-quality independent legal advice before starting or signing anything that could have legal implications for your company, such as contracts or representation agreements. Specialist legal advice on intellectual property rights protection is also recommended and there are a number of highly qualified patent agents’ firms available.

Legal advice can be expensive, but it is money well spent. It is far better to ensure that your interests in Brazil are fully protected than to leave yourself vulnerable to untoward consequences – which can be even more expensive to sort out!


Source - UKTI


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