Laws & Regulations in Brazil for Exporting Wood
Only Brazilian-based community associations, cooperatives and companies can participate in forest concessions. Forest managers and harvesting companies harvesting native species from planted forests must inform IBAMA or the state environment body in question about their commercial activities.
Forest managers and harvesting companies harvesting exotic species from planted forests need planting licenses before a planted forest is raised. The government body responsible for issuing such a permit varies according to size and location. IBAMA, Brazil’s environment agency, is the government body responsible for issuing licenses for cases such as areas shared by Brazil and a neighboring country, indigenous territories, conservation units within federal level, and where two or more Brazilian states are involved. State environment agencies are the issuing body in cases such as the area in question is located in more than one municipality or a conservation unit is under state-level administration.
Concessionaires must pay relevant fees to the government for exploring the forest, including social tributes, goods taxation, and environmental and labor duties and tributes. When harvesting from concessions in native forests, concessionaires must hold a concession contract. In addition, they must hold an approved Sustainable Forest Management Plan (Plano de Manejo Florestal Sustentável – PMFS), an approved Annual Operational Plan (Plano Operacional Anual – POA) and an Operating Authorization (Autorização de Exploração – AUTEX). Concessionaires must be on IBAMA’s technical register (Cadastro Técnico Federal). See Law No. 11.284 of 2006.
When harvesting from private lands in native forests, timber companies must hold land title documents (or leasehold). They must also hold an approved Sustainable Forest Management Plan (Plano de Manejo Florestal Sustentável – PMFS) and an approved Annual Operational Plan (Plano Operacional Anual – POA). See Decree No. 5975.
Anyone (land owner, leaseholder, or settler) harvesting timber from converted lands on native forests (private properties or land settlements) must hold a permit authorizing them to clear forest for alternative uses of the land, such as agriculture and cattle raising, and infrastructure construction. They need either an Autorização de Desmatamento or an Autorização para Supressão da Vegetação Alternativo do Solo. Individuals or companies must be on IBAMA’s technical register (Cadastro Técnico Florestal). In order to obtain land clearance authorizations, property owners must provide proof of land title.
For companies harvesting exotic species from planted forests, if the planted forest is not considered an area of permanent conservation, no previous permit for harvesting is needed. See Law No. 4.771 of 1965.
Companies involved in processing owe fees to the government in many cases, including social tributes, goods taxation, and environmental and labor duties and tributes. Processing companies must be on IBAMA’s technical register (Cadastro Técnico Florestal). IBAMA or a state environmental agency must issue a license before timber processing activities are carried out. The timber processing company must complete relevant sections of the DOF (Documento de Origem Florestal).
Timber companies seeking to export timber from Brazil must provide the following:
- • Importer registration (SISCOMEX code)
- • Import claim
- • Customs declaration
- • Purchasing contract
- • Purchasing order
- • Legal transportation permits
- • Packing list
- • Invoice
Products must go through one of the two customs declaration procedures available. A simplified declaration can be used when goods do not exceed $50,000 and a full customs declaration is used when exported goods exceed this value. The simplified declaration can be done online via the Sistema de Comércio Exterior – SISCOMEX (Foreign Trade System) or through paper forms (I have a sample to be included). The full customs declaration must be processed online via SISCOMEX.
CITES-listed species may only be exported from the following ports (see Normative Instruction No. 188 of 2008):
- • North region: Belém Port (PA)
- • South region: Paranaguá (PR), Itajaí (SC) and Uruguaiana (RS) Ports
- • Southeast region: Santos (SP) and Vitória Ports
The exporting company must pay export tax (Imposto de Exportação, or IE).
Between October 2001 and June 2003, there was a full harvest and trade ban of Brazilian mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla King) in place. In 2003, the Brazilian government authorized the species to be harvested and traded again under the condition that it is extracted on the basis of sustainable forest management. In addition, the country has had a full log export ban for several decades. In 2005, Brazil partially changed its regulations, allowing the export of logs under two conditions: from forest plantations or sustainable forest management plans. Brazilian legislation no longer allows the harvest of any timber originating from the following trees: Brazil nut tree (Bertholletia excelsa), rubber tree (Hevea spp.), araucária (Araucaria angustifolia), native brazilwood/pernambuco (Caesalpinia echinata) and jacarandá/Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia nigra).
Customs clearance is done by means of a Declaração de Exportação – DE (export declaration), which must be formalized with up to 48 hours prior to shipment by the local IBAMA unit. The following documents are needed for a DE to be issued:
1. Copy of the Registro de Exportação – RE (Export Registry) from the Sistema de Comércio Exterior – SISCOMEX (Foreign Trade System);
2. Copy of the nota fiscal (Invoice);
3. Packing list;
4. Transportation Authorization;
5. Export authorization for wood products and subproducts (e.g. CITES), as appropriate.
See Normative Instruction IBAMA No. 77, OF 2005.
Companies transporting timber from native forests must carry a DOF (Documento de Origem Florestal), issued by IBAMA (Federal Environmental Agency) or a state equivalent, as well as a nota fiscal (invoice). The DOF is a computerized timber control system. It should contain information about the timber’s origin, species, type of product, quantity and value of the cargo, as well as detailed transportation route. Products and subproducts should be 14
accompanied by the relevant DOF from the originating timber yard up to customs terminal.
The DOF is not always required. Subproducts such as windows, doors and furniture, and cellulose and wood paste, for example, are exempt. Some states have their own transportation licenses, which are integrated with the DOF system. These states are Mato Grosso, Pará and Rondônia (Guia Florestal – GF) and Minas Gerais (Guia de Controle Ambiental – GCA).
The DOF is issued with an expiration date: 5 days for state road transportation, 10 days for interstate road transportation and 30 days for logs being transported by rafts. Companies transporting exotic species from planted forests must carry a nota fiscal (invoice).
See DOF Manual.
Concessionaires must pay relevant fees to the government for exploring the forest. Timber companies must pay the following fees to the government: social tributes, goods taxes, environmental and labor duties and tributes. The exporting company should pay export tax (imposto de exportação, or IE).
CITES Agreement Information
CITES is an international agreement among governments whose purpose is to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plant species does not threaten the survival of these species. 175 countries have agreed to be bound by CITES, which is a binding legal agreement. It is up to each Party to CITES to draft its own domestic legislation in order to comply with its CITES obligations. Brazil acceded to the Convention in 1975.
Six commercially traded tree species that grow in Brazil are currently listed on one of the three CITES appendices, and require additional valid documentation in order to be legally traded out of Brazil. For more information about how CITES works, see the official website of the Convention.
IBAMA has some helpful information about obtaining CITES permits at its website (Portuguese only). IBAMA also offers a “quick verify” service here, so that anyone interested in trading CITES-listed timber species can quickly check to see whether the license is valid.
A full contact list for official Brazilian CITES authorities, including Management Authorities competent to grant permits is available on the CITES website.