Congress creates parliamentary front to combat smuggling

Mixed Parliamentary Front to Combat Smuggling
Mixed Parliamentary Front to Combat Smuggling

Brazil needs to do more to win the war on smuggling, and the path is through the creation of tougher laws and the collection of more effective actions by the public authorities. That was the reason that led 202 federal deputies and 23 senators to create the Mixed Parliamentary Front to Combat Smuggling and Counterfeiting, officially established on May 14, in the National Congress, in Brasilia.

The ceremony was attended by parliamentarians and representatives of the executive, public prosecutors, judiciary and more than 50 civil society associations, such as the Movement for the Defense of the Brazilian Legal Market, created in September 2014 and led by the ETCO-Institute Brazilian Competition Ethics Committee and the FNPC-National Forum Against Piracy and Illegality.

The parliamentary front is chaired by federal deputy Efraim Filho (DEM / PB), one of the parliamentarians most dedicated to combating smuggling. He was the author, for example, of the project approved in 2014 that modified the penal code and increased the penalties for this crime, which used to range from one to four years, to two to five years. According to the deputy, the front will focus on four lines of action: 1) Drafting bills against counterfeiting and smuggling; 2) Charge governmental actions at the federal, state and municipal levels to combat these crimes; 3) Hold debates and public hearings to involve the whole of society in discussing the problem; and 4) Study and implement other initiatives to reduce smuggling.


Loss of driver's license and CNPJ

As a first act, deputy Efraim Filho filed with the Chamber of Deputies the Bill 1530/15, which toughens penalties for crime. The proposal provides for three new mechanisms to curb smuggling. The first is the loss of a driver's license for anyone caught in the act carrying smuggled goods. The fear of suffering this punishment should reduce the supply of drivers willing to take risks in driving vehicles with illegal products.

The second is the cassation for five years of the CNPJ of companies condemned for transporting, distributing, storing or selling contraband products. The third mechanism seeks to encourage complaints against the illegal trade in these goods. It makes it mandatory to display cigarettes and beverages at a visible location with a sign with the following warning: “It is a crime to sell contraband cigarettes and beverages. Report it".

The president of the front intends to demand more efforts from the governments in the inspection of the borders. “It is necessary to understand that investing resources in the fight against smuggling is not a cost, but an investment,” said Efraim Filho, citing the example of Operation Ágata, carried out in 2011. “It is estimated that R $ 10 million were spent and it was possible to collect in return more than R $ 300 million. ”

Senator Ronaldo Caiado (DEM-GO), vice president of the Parliamentary Front, defended the toughening of the punishment for those who receive contraband products. "The penalty for the recipient must be four times greater than that of someone who smuggles," he said. "I believe that, in the short term, we will present a result against something that is destroying the country."

It is estimated that Brazil loses about R $ 100 billion each year due to smuggling, with negative impacts on tax collection, job losses, unfair competition with companies that comply with legal obligations, health risks of population and increased crime.

Brazilians say smuggling brings serious damage to the country

cover researchThe trade in smuggled products is widely condemned by the Brazilian population. Unprecedented research commissioned by the Brazilian Institute of Ethics in Competition (ETCO) to the Datafolha Institute, with the support of the Movement in Defense of the Brazilian Legal Market, shows that 77% of respondents agree that smuggled products bring harm to the country and the population and that, for 80 %, these illegal products harm the activity of commerce and industry in Brazil.

The vast majority of Brazilians (92%) believe that if the price of products sold legally in the country were lower, Brazilians would stop buying contraband products. This expectation is mostly shared, with minimum rates of 90%, by all segments analyzed in the survey.

Most respondents also agree that smuggled products are cheaper because they do not pay due taxes (89%), do not have to comply with inspection rules (87%), and are made from poorer quality materials (77%) .

Another important fact of the survey is that 60% of respondents say they have difficulty in recognizing smuggled and counterfeit products in relation to those produced legally.

When the topic is criminality, for 86% of respondents smuggled products encourage organized crime and drug trafficking. Likewise, 83% agree that it is a crime to sell contraband products and 74% that it is a criminal act to buy contraband products.

The Federal Government is considered, by 48% of the interviewees, as the main responsible for the entrance of contraband in the country. Only 5% of respondents consider the work done by the federal authorities to be very efficient and the rest are divided between those who consider it to be somewhat efficient (50%) or not at all efficient (40%).

The solution
The efficiency of some measures to combat smuggling were also assessed in the survey. For 61% of respondents, reinforced border policing and the adoption of tougher penalties for the crime of smuggling are seen as very efficient, the highest rate among the alternatives analyzed; then there is the total blockade of borders by the federal police (53%) and employment incentive programs on both sides of the border (53%), in addition to the tax issue.

It is quantitative with a personal approach. The interviews were conducted between April 22nd and 24th across the country with people over 16 years old, totaling 2.401 interviews. The national sample's margin of error is 2 points more or less.

Movement in Defense of the Brazilian Legal Market
It is a coalition created in 2014 by the Instituto de Ética Concorrencial (ETCO) and the National Forum to Combat Piracy and Illegality (FNCP). This Movement comprises more than 70 entities representing different sectors of the economy affected by illegality in Brazil (smuggling, counterfeiting, piracy and evasion)

The Movement aims to mobilize civil society and government agents around proposals and actions that will contribute to reducing these deviations.

Bill toughens punishment for smuggling

Mixed Parliamentary Front to Combat Smuggling
Mixed Parliamentary Front to Combat Smuggling

Brazil loses about R $ 100 billion every year to the crime of smuggling. In addition to the negative impact on the country's revenue, smuggling affects the stability of several economic sectors, the jobs of Brazilians, the health of the population and the security of citizens.
This is the case, for example, with toys, which do not undergo any type of quality control, and can seriously injure children. Cigarettes brought from Paraguay, which today represent more than 30% of the national market, do not follow the rules established by Anvisa. Currently, more than 1.200 websites illegally sell medicines in Brazil.


Parliamentary Front to Combat Smuggling and Counterfeiting

 Faced with this serious problem of public interest and affecting national sovereignty, the Mixed Parliamentary Front to Combat Smuggling and Counterfeiting is being launched on Thursday (May 14). The new front, which already has the participation of about 220 deputies and senators, is chaired by federal deputy Efraim Filho (DEM / PB).
The objectives of the front are:


v Define and present legislation proposals that contribute to the effective fight against smuggling and counterfeiting;

v To demand from the public authorities, at the federal, state and municipal levels, the execution of firm and immediate actions to reduce the problem of smuggling, counterfeiting and its negative impacts on society;

v Take the discussion on smuggling and counterfeiting to the whole of society through debates and public hearings;

v Find out other ways that can be taken so that the country is no longer a victim of these crimes.


Bill of Law

As the first act of the Mixed Parliamentary Front, deputy Efraim Filho filed last Wednesday, May 13, the Bill 1530/15, which aims to harden the fight against smuggling. The main points are:


v Loss of driver's license for people caught in the act carrying smuggled goods;

v The obligation to display cigarettes and beverages at points of sale, in a visible place, with a warning with the following words: “It is a crime to sell contraband cigarettes and beverages. Report it".

v Loss of CNPJ for 5 years for companies that are convicted of transporting, distributing, storing or trading contraband products.


Movement in Defense of the Brazilian Legal Market


Created in September 2014, the Movement is led by the Brazilian Institute of Competition Ethics (ETCO) and by the National Forum Against Piracy and Illegality (FNCP) and already has more than 70 entities and associations from different productive sectors.


 No Smuggling

The site it has been available since last Thursday (15/05) so that there is a content hub on combating smuggling accessible to the entire population. There will be several news about laws and projects related to the theme, studies and statistics on smuggling in Brazil and the initiatives of the Brazilian Legal Market.