Smuggling apprehension grows 122% on the Brazil-Paraguay border


By José Maschio, from Agência Folha, in Londrina - 09/06/2005

In the first five months of this year, seizures of goods smuggled across the border between Brazil and Paraguay grew 122% over the same period last year. The figures were released yesterday by the Federal Revenue Service in Foz do Iguaçu (PR).

According to IRS data, seizures up to May totaled US $ 22,1 million, which corresponds to two-thirds of the total seized in 2004, which was US $ 33,5 million.

The growth in the volume of seizures has been constant since November, when the Internal Revenue Service intensified efforts to combat smuggling and piracy in the triple border region between Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.

Leading the ranking of seizures are computer products, electronic equipment, blank CDs and DVDs, cigarettes and drugs. The increase in seizures occurs even after an agreement between the Brazilian and Paraguayan governments in April, which increased the value of the quota for the entry of tax-free products.

The value for goods entry, via land, rose from US $ 150 to US $ 300 at the Brazilian borders. The air ticket fee is US $ 500.

Strict enforcement in Brazil has led to discontent on the Paraguayan side, especially among cigarette and computer vendors.

Accused by the Police and the Brazilian Revenue for not complying with the anti-smuggling rules, the Paraguayan customs in Ciudad del Este started, earlier this month, an inspection work on the entry of Brazilian goods into the country. The same rigor does not apply to the departure of goods from Paraguay to Foz do Iguaçu.

These difficulties in the relationship between Brazilian and Paraguayan authorities should be on the agenda of the International Seminar on Strategic Combat against Smuggling and Piracy, which begins today in Foz do Iguaçu and continues until Sunday.