Will Brazilian Government allow border shops?

A new draft bill is presently before the Brazilian Parliament could legalise duty free border shops on the border with Uruguay.


For several years, Brazilian businessmen in border towns in the province of Rio Grande do Sul have been actively campaigning for duty free shops on their side of the border with Uruguay and Argentina.


[Currently, border business generated on the Uruguayan side into Brazil is estimated to be worth in excess of $500m in sales turnover a year-Ed].


As part of this and for the last two years, Brazilian politician Marcos Maía has been steering draft law 6136/2009 through the Brazilian Parliament. In December of last year this was approved in the House of Representatives and this year will begin its passage through the Brazilian Senate.


At present, Brazilian legislation only permits duty free shops to be operated in airports and sea ports. The new law would allow the opening of duty free shops in land borders initially in the following towns – Aceguá; Barra do Quaraí; Chuí; Itaqui; Jaguarão; Porto Xavier; Quaraí; Santana do Livramento; São Borja; Uruguaiana; Tiradentes do Sul; and Porto Maua.


Within this new offer, duty free shopping possibilities would be offered to Uruguayan and Argentine tourists.


There is still some uncertainty as to how the system will work and the types of shop that will be allowed, but ‘assuming this law is eventually passed’, the general consensus is that even more shoppers will be attracted to the border area and eventful improvements in the tourism infrastructure would be good for business, on both sides of the frontier.

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