This article is an authorized reproduction of the original text written by Luana Almeida, expert in international investment agreements at Sidera Consult (http://www.sideraconsult.com), partner of UBC (http://www.updatebrazilconsulting.com).
The launch of the new Brazilian Direct Investment Ombudsman (DIO), April 25, was the stage for brilliant minds such as of the Special Secretariat for International Trade and International Affairs, Mr. Marcos Troyjo, Her Majesty Trade Commissioner for Latin America the Caribbean, Ms. Joanna Crellin, the World Bank Program Leader for Brazil, Mr. Rafael Muñoz, among other authorities.
From the audience, I would dare to say that optimism was the main feeling. The openness and willingness to debate with all affected sectors, especially from the Undersecretary of Foreign Investments of the Executive Secretariat of the Chamber of Ministers for Foreign Trade (Camex), Mr. Renato Baumann, were especially responsible for the positive first impression.
The Ombudsman is an official “single window” for foreign investors, provided by the Executive Secretariat of the Chamber of Ministers for Foreign Trade. Its responsibility is to receive requests and enquires about investments, and the goal is to address the excessive Brazilian bureaucracy and provide more transparency and an open dialogue.
The “single window” is the entry-point for other 37 Brazilian agencies and authorities, such as the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA), the Brazilian Agency for Industrial Development (ABDI), the Securities and Exchange Commission of Brazil (CVM) and the Brazilian Federal Revenue.
In summary, investors now can centralize their problems and demands concerning public agencies in one government body, which will be in charge of taking the claim to the correct authority responsible for the matter (at the Federal, State, and Municipal levels).
The main areas covered are issues associated with taxation, labor legislation, social security, financial, administrative and environmental infrastructure, and land tenure.
However, there are limitations. Matters that are already in the legal sphere or related to private disputes, for instance, cannot be addressed.
Similar initiatives exist in countries like Colombia, Chile, Vietnam, and South Korea and have been considerably successful, not only on attracting investments, but also – and more importantly – in keeping them. In other words, the initiative aims equally at supporting investors already in Brazil and that have been facing difficulties concerning their investments.
Sidera Consult (http://http://www.sideraconsult.com) is following this initiative closely, leading a taskforce composed of some its traditional clients, in order to submit its position paper to the Ombudsman. We are ready to help your company explore further the possibilities of this new channel or to help solve any questions you might have about the implications for your business.