Border control, a priority on the national agenda

By Geraldo Seixas - President of the National Union of Tax Analysts of the Federal Revenue of Brazil (Sindireceita)


In recent years, even in the midst of the serious global economic crisis, the flow of Brazilian international trade has grown by more than 70%, expanding the volume of imports and exports at ports, airports and border posts across the country. The number of vehicles and people crossing our borders has also grown.

The expansion of the flow of people, goods and vehicles entering and leaving the country through ports, airports and border points also poses other challenges and requires the improvement of the means of control carried out by the State. Because, it was not just the legal flow of goods that grew. In recent years, seizures of smuggling, embezzlement, drugs, weapons, ammunition and other goods that have entered the country illegally have also grown.

Even in the face of numerous difficulties such as the lack of servers in the units that carry out inspection and customs control, in 2015, according to the last Customs Balance released by the IRS, 3.144 surveillance and repression operations against smuggling and embezzlement were carried out, which resulted in the seizure over R $ 1,8 billion in goods. In 2015, there was an increase of 43,16%, compared to 2014, in the seizure of arms and ammunition. There were also, in the same year, Geraldo Seixas.jpgaprehensions of 2,4 tons of marijuana and 1,7 tons of cocaine, results that reinforce the role of the Federal Revenue as an institution linked to the fight against cross-border crimes and to confront security threats, materialized by crimes such as smuggling and drug trafficking.

Recent research shows that Brazil loses billions of reais every year due to under-invoicing of exports and over-invoicing of imports, with smuggling and embezzlement. O Competition Ethics Institute (Etco) and the National Forum Against Piracy and Illegality (FNCP) estimate that Brazil loses, with tax evasion and other losses caused by smuggling, R $ 100 billion a year. The report produced by Global Financial Integrity (GFI) estimates that from 2003 to 2012, Brazil lost US $ 217 billion, about US $ 21 billion a year, due to crimes of corruption, money laundering, but mainly through under-invoicing of exports and over-invoicing of imports.

The Institute for Economic and Social Development of Borders (Idesf) showed that the federal government stopped collecting R $ 10 billion in Tax on Industrialized Products (IPI) and Import Tax (II), between 2011 and 2014, due to smuggling . Idesf concluded that the collection of only these two taxes would increase by R $ 3 billion annually if Operation Agate - an integrated effort of the Armed Forces and more than forty inspection agencies, including the Federal Revenue Service - occurred without interruption during the entire period. year. According to the study, expenditure on the Operation is approximately R $ 1,1 million per day, or R $ 401,5 million per year.

It is not a question of expanding the collection, but of providing State institutions with the necessary capacity to act as a facilitator of international trade and, at the same time, expanding the means of inspection and control, strengthening the fight against cross-border crimes such as smuggling, diversion and drug trafficking, reducing the inflow of weapons that are used by organized crime. Actions, therefore, that are directly associated with the reduction of violence.

In this sense, we urgently need to bring the debate on border control to the national agenda. We can no longer be held hostage by dramatic events such as those that occurred in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo, Rio Grande do Norte and more recently in Amazonas, when organized crime promoted attacks on police forces, started to control areas of large cities and to promote massacres in prisons as demonstrations of power. Now, the focus is on the lack of border control in the northern region, which has allowed criminal groups to take advantage of the weakness of enforcement to control drug trafficking.

As a way of contributing to this debate, over the past few years, the Tax Analysts of the Federal Revenue have promoted several actions. More intensely, since 2010, with the project “Fronteiras Abertas”, we have denounced the abandonment of borders. Now, to measure the challenge that is to control the flow of international trade that occurs through the country's ports, airports and dry borders, the Tax Analysts of the Federal Revenue of Brazil launch the “Frontier”. With this new tool, Tax Analysts present projections of the volume of cargo, people and vehicles entering and leaving the country, giving society an idea of ​​quantity at the exact moment the consultation is made.

With the “Frontier” we also show the importance of customs inspection and control, and the challenges imposed by the growth in the flow of trade. We intend to broaden the debate on the importance of inspection and control actions at our borders and show the dimension of the challenge faced by the agencies that work in border control and foreign trade. Certainly, tackling violence will only be effective in the country when society and the authorities understand that border control should be seen as a priority on the national agenda.

In an article published in the Correio Braziliense newspaper, Edson Vismona criticizes the lack of surveillance on Brazilian borders, which opens the way to organized crime.

Image article STATE THAT STATEState. Which state?


By: Edson Vismona (*)

We know that the State exists to provide answers to some basic obligations: comply with and enforce the law; exercise authority (never authoritarianism); collect taxes and fees and manage public resources (with exception); and provide services (permanent and with quality).

The scenes abundantly shown on television at the beginning of this year make us doubt the role of the Brazilian State. They attest to barbarism in prisons in Brazil, demonstrating, on the one hand, the presence of criminal organizations and, on the other, the absence of the State, unable to promptly act in the discharge of its duties.

As a spectator, he watched the action of the criminal factions, fearful of taking control of the chaotic situation - as if the absence of public administration in maintaining public order was permissible, thereby ignoring their primary obligations.

This omission is shameful. It is true that the federal government, in the face of disaster, after assessing the situation, put forward the presentation of yet another national security plan. The question is: how long will we discuss plans without effective implementation? The diagnosis is known: in the absence of the State, crime occupies the space and has acted with great organization and fearlessness. In addition to prisons, action is urgent. From the borders to the cities, we have organized crime occupying spaces and earning billions of reais from smuggling (especially cigarettes), drug trafficking, weapons and ammunition, piracy, evasion, fraud in the sale of fuel, forgery of products and documents .

By seeking insertion in public institutions - which happens through active participation in the election of political representatives and also by the enticement of authorities (police and judicial) - criminal organizations are increasingly adding power, rivaling public power, which the main author becomes a mere supporting role.

The State, with the participation of civil society, urgently needs to organize itself to disorganize crime. There is no point in preparing plans and more plans if the premises of occupying spaces and fighting for real organized criminal action, which basically seeks to make money, are not carried out. The lower the risk, the better for criminals. The struggle is for the State to reduce the scope of criminal activity - which perverts the very existence of public power -, fighting it and cutting off its sources of financial resources. Recently, the Brazilian Institute of Competition Ethics (ETCO) and the National Forum Against Piracy and Illegality (FNCP) participated in a meeting at the Ministry of Justice and Citizenship discussing actions to combat theft and theft of vehicles and cargo and presented 21 proposals to assist in the urgent definition of strategies to fight against crime, especially at the borders.

Adopting a systemic and systematic vision, fundamentally, the following were suggested: the integration between the intelligence of the police forces (federal and state), the Federal Revenue, Coaf, Abin and the Armed Forces, identifying the most critical points and implementing cooperative actions; investment in control technology and human resources, enabling prompt repression response; identification of suspicious financial transactions, using the means to suppress them; implementation of a navigation monitoring system in the Itaipu lake by the Navy; development of Action Plans with border countries and legislative updating.

These proposals are in line with years of assessment of the criminal phenomenon. It is proof of incompetence to think that only with specific police actions will it be possible to fight crime. We have to overcome the idea of ​​the State sharing and assume integration and collaboration, with permanent actions. This mission is not of any isolated public organization, it is of all. Along with police actions, it is essential to cut off the criminals' means of financing, and this involves combating not only drug and arms trafficking, but also smuggling, persistent evasion, fraud, counterfeiting and piracy.

These are the sources of funds for criminal organizations facing the state. It is our duty to dry them. Once again, to think that this illegal market is not significant for the financing of criminal organizations is a clear lack of knowledge, intellectual disability or bad faith. It should be noted that the growth of criminal organizations and brutal corruption are sides of the same coin, threatening the values ​​and principles of the Democratic Rule of Law and the country's development.

With the erosion of ethics and non-compliance with laws, we lose the support of institutions and the possibility of sustainable economic growth. As an answer to the question in the title of this article, we need a State that is effective in fulfilling its obligations. It's time for quick, coordinated action. In short, it is time for quick and coordinated action. We are already late and tasked with acting in the midst of chaos.


Article published in the Correio Braziliense newspaper, 02/02/2016

(*) Edson Vismona is president of the Brazilian Institute of Competition Ethics (ETCO) and of the National Forum to Combat Piracy (FNCP)

Senators want to increase sentence for smuggling

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Bill presented in the Senate increases the smuggling penalty. The text provides for a maximum of 20 years, while the penalty currently can reach 10 years. The argument is that the current penalties are not enough to curb the practice of this crime, which consists of importing banned goods into the country.

The text (PLS 85 / 2016), Senators Raimundo Lira (PMDB-PB) and Ana Amélia (PP-RS) provide for a penalty of 5 to 15 years for the crime of smuggling. The penalty can be increased from one sixth to one third if the crime involves air, sea or river transportation, which takes a maximum of 20 years. Currently, the penalty is much less, from two to five years, but the increase is greater: the penalty is counted twice if the contraband is carried out by air, sea or river transport, which takes a maximum time of ten years.

The project has Senator Telmário Mota (PDT-RR) as rapporteur. The decision of the Constitution, Justice and Citizenship Commission (CCJ) is terminative, which means that the text does not need to go through the plenary if there is no appeal for that purpose. If approved, the project will still need to be analyzed by the Chamber of Deputies.

For Ana Amélia and Raimundo Lira, smuggling must be repressed and combated more efficiently because it is harmful, at the same time, to the treasury, to Brazilian companies and to consumers.

“With smuggling, the State loses, which stops collecting taxes; Brazilian companies lose, because they suffer extremely unfair competition; consequently they also lose the employees of these companies, because jobs are put at risk; finally, they lose consumers, because they are subject to buying counterfeit products, which can harm their health ”, they stated in the text's justification.

Source: Agência Senado (25/01)

Editorial published on January 4, in the newspaper Diário de Pernambuco, addresses the damage caused by smuggling

Smuggling slows down the country

It is estimated that Brazil loses R $ 100 billion a year from the sale of illegal goods, which are accepted by consumers. Despite recognizing that contraband products are harmful to the country's interests, at least 26% of Brazilians are in the habit of buying them. Among the most commercialized are cigarettes and electronics, clothes, shoes, DVDs of games and films. This share exceeds 30%, among people aged 25 to 34, in classes and E, The data are from the survey commissioned by the Brazilian Institute of Ethics in Competition (ETCO) to DataFolha Instituto de Pesquisa.

According to the study, the consumer blames the weakness of inspection actions for the entry of illegal products in the Brazilian market. In the opinion of experts, the federal government should act with more rigor, mainly in relation to neighboring Paraguay, from where most of the items originate. smuggled.

For 87% of the more than 2 respondents, what weighs in the option for illegal goods is the price in the national market, inflated by the high tax burden. The majority of people interviewed (75%) recognize that the sale of cigarettes would be among the main sources of income for criminal groups, such as the PCC, to sponsor actions that increase the levels of violence and crime in the national territory, but also the traffic in people and drugs.

Still, more than half of consumers are not willing to give preference to domestic products. The increase in criminal sanctions for those who commit smuggling crimes is far from having the desired effects. Today, whoever is convicted may face up to 5 years in prison. In addition to strengthening border enforcement and establishing a more ostensible policy to combat smuggling, it is imperative that the government review the current tax policy.

In a recessionary economy, rising inflation and 12 million unemployed, among other factors, taxes have gained additional weight in workers' pockets. In this scenario, clandestine products, with more attractive prices, win consumer preference, to the detriment of national industry and commerce. Tax reform was excluded from the government's agenda, which faces difficulties in overcoming resistance to the fixing of public spending ceilings, changes in social security, which led it to postpone the debate on changes in labor legislation until 2017.

But the question cannot remain dormant. It is not enough to set limits on expenses, it is necessary to review the forms of collection and to address the disparities in the division of the pie between the Union, states and municipalities, where Brazilians live, who demand a quality offer of essential services under the responsibility of the State.

Understand how the smuggling scheme works

The Spectacular Sunday showed, in a special report of the last day 11/12/2016, how the smuggled products enter and are commercialized, in Brazil. In addition to the ease of opening a front company to work with smuggling. Three out of ten Brazilians have already purchased pirated products, thus feeding a market that moves millions of reais.


Watch the full report by clicking here

Crime without borders: in a special report, Istoé Magazine details how contraband operates in Brazil

How the smuggling market operates in Brazil, which causes the country to lose R $ 6,4 billion in taxes per year with only pirated cigarettes


If Brazil places a policeman on every meter of the 17-kilometer border with the ten countries with which it makes foreign exchange, most of which are cut by dirt roads - and for that it would need to have thousands of police, instead of the 3.000 it currently has - , smugglers would dig tunnels and pass their products (cigarettes, electronics, weapons and drugs) to Brazilian territory without being disturbed.

"We let the situation reach that point, but the time has come for action, it is no longer possible to accept." Edson Vismona, president of ETCO and the National Forum Against Piracy.

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Smuggled cigarettes sales in Piauí increased 16% between 2012 and 2015

Photo: Disclosure

In Piauí, the volume of smuggled cigarettes grew 16% between 2012 and 2015, according to market data. This is what it points out, a survey by the Datafolha Institute commissioned by the Brazilian Institute for Competitive Ethics (ETCO), in partnership with the National Forum Against Piracy and Illegality (FNCP).

The study reveals that while the sale of the national product fell in a considerable proportion, of the 10 most sold brands in Piauí, at least two are from the illegal market. In addition, the average price of the smuggled pack is R $ 3,20, which represents 64% of the legal minimum price for cigarettes in the legal market.

The Datafolha survey also shows that there is a relationship between the trade in illegal products and the increase in violence. According to a survey, 79% of the population in the Northeast region believes that the sale of irregular products favors the growth of crime. The data show that cigarettes from Paraguay are the largest financier of criminal faction activities.

Source: Portal O Dia (Teresina - PI), 12/11/2016

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Volume of smuggled cigarettes in MA grew 17%


SÃO LUÍS - Survey by the Brazilian Institute of Ethics in Competition (ETCO) - a civil society organization of public interest - pointed out that the volume of smuggled cigarettes in the state of Maranhão grew 17%. The data refers to the percentage of illegal cargoes that barely had access to the domestic market between the years 2002 and 2015.
Also according to the survey, while the number of contraband cigarettes grew, the sale of the product in the main centers of the country fell. According to the ETCO survey, of the 10 cigarette brands with the greatest market appeal in Maranhão, three are from the illegal market.
According to the institute, the main factor that contributed to the high percentage of illegal products of the genre in the state is the consumer price. According to the entity, the average price of the smuggled pack would be - on average - R $ 3,20, which is 36% of the legal minimum price for cigarettes in the legal market. Another fact that draws attention in the survey is that, throughout the Northeast Region, 26% of the people interviewed admitted that they are in the habit of buying contraband products for their own use, such as electronics, clothes and films, in addition to cigarettes. The survey also concluded that the majority of people (79%) believe that the entry of illegal products in the country favors the growth of urban violence.

Source: The State of Maranhão Online (São Luís - MA), 13/11/2016

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