Revenue to tighten up smuggling


By Adriana Fernandes, The State of S. Paulo - 03/12/2004

BRASÍLIA - In order to increase the crackdown on smuggling in Brazil, the Federal Revenue will use in 2005 an ambitious plan to strengthen customs security in ports, airports and border points throughout the country. With a planned public and private investment of R $ 700 million over the next three years, the Treasury intends to use a combination of technology and intelligence to make the inspection of goods passing through customs more efficient and agile.

The modernization plan will bring changes in the control of passenger luggage at international airports. All baggage must pass through X-ray machines. Passengers considered to be at risk may also be selected to be inspected before even disembarking in the country, based on the analysis of names that must be previously sent by the airlines.

The movement of goods at ports, airports and border points will also be monitored in advance. For that, next year, the Foreign Trade System (Siscomex) will start operating, especially for cargo. With Siscomex-cargo, the Revenue inspectors will be able to control the goods before their arrival at customs. By 2007, the tax authorities want to reduce from 30% to 5% the amount of goods inspected by customs officials. With this reduction, the inspectors will have space to increase the repression actions against smuggling, piracy and counterfeiting outside ports and airports.

The Revenue will not bear the investments alone. Infraero, port administrations, dry ports and companies that operate customs terminals will also have to participate in the investments. Much of the money will be spent on the purchase of equipment, mainly sophisticated scanners, capable of viewing the interior of containers and trucks without the need to open them.

Such equipment can cost about $ 1 million. Others, simpler, for baggage inspection at airports, cost US $ 100. The ports will have cameras in the security areas, whose images can be transmitted directly to the central of the Revenue.

Foreign trade

The customs reform takes place at a time when Brazil's trade with the outside world has been gaining momentum and has increased worldwide concern, especially among developed countries, with security in ports and airports, in the face of fear of terrorist actions. "With the greater flow of foreign trade, we need to work with more technology and information to hit the target more precisely," said the Secretary of Revenue, Jorge Rachid to the State.

According to the Customs Administration of Revenue coordinator, Ronaldo Medina, the changes will allow a more objective selection of inspection, with analysis of information and controls that use artificial intelligence. Medina explained that these changes will allow the reduction of the cost of Brazilian companies and the time that the goods are stopped in customs.

The Port of Santos, Guarulhos International Airport and Foz de Iguaçu will be the first customs to change, with modernization of inspection equipment. The Friendship Bridge, in Foz de Iguaçu, will undergo a reform of the inspection organization. In these three customs, the changes will take effect in 2005. Then it will be the turn of the international airports of Viracopos, Galeão, Porto Alegre and Manaus, of the ports of Paranaguá, Rio Grande, Itajaí, São Francisco do Sul, Suape and Manaus and of the points border in Uruguaiana and Corumbá.


As for travelers, the IRS will adopt a passenger information system to assist in the selection of those to be inspected. In addition, all luggage must pass through the X-ray machine as soon as it is removed from the plane. In order to make customs clearance more agile, the Revenue will install computer terminals for the passenger to make the luggage declaration.

A single passenger identification standard, already used in several countries, will be adopted. The Brazilian passport will also have a code that will give access to the passenger information, enabling the previous selection of those to be inspected.