The dumping of dangerous residuals in developing nations by developed countries is old hat. They usually come in the form of garbage or trash for recycling. In 2009, Brazil received an unwelcome shipment of over a thousand tons of waste from England.
The stuff was returned, fines were levied and the Ministry of Foreign Relations notified international organizations because such shipments violate the Basel Convention on transfer of dangerous residuals from one country to another.
On August 13, 22 tons of waste from Germany arrived in Brazil at Porto do Rio Grande in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, where it was intercepted by Customs authorities (Receita Federal) and environmental protection agents (Ibama).
Upon examination, it was discovered that the shipment contained empty bottles of cleaning fluids, contaminated residuals and even dirty disposable diapers. The cargo was marked industrial residuals for recyling. The cargo came from the port of Hamburg.
Ibama immediately announced that the transporting company and the Brazilian firm that imported the cargo would be fined for illegally transferring dangerous residuals from one country to another.
The fines total US$ 1.1 million. The transportation company has ten days to ship the cargo back to Germany. Under the Basel Convention, the country where an illegal shipment of dangerous residuals came from cannot refuse to receive them back.
The Foreign Trade Chamber (“Camex”) has announced anti-circumvention measures to deal with imports of goods and components of suspicious origin.
Helder Chaves, the Camex secretary general, says the problem is that some goods coming into Brazil as if from one country are actually coming from another. This makes it possible to avoid import tariffs or restrictions.
Chaves also pointed out a problem with imported bicycles from China. As they have a high import surtax, they are being broken down and imported as bicycle parts (with a much lower import tariff).
According to Chaves, antidumping processes are long and drawn out. “Anti-circumvention measures enable us to extend and apply commerce protection norms faster,” he explained.
At a press conference, Chaves also announced new anti-corruption measures as part of an agreement with the European Organization of Economic and Development Cooperation.
“The idea is not so much to punish as to make exporters aware of their obligations,” said the diplomat. The new rules will require exporters who receive any government financing to report possible corruption.
Restrictions on Chicken
Brazil will begin consultations at the World Trade Organization regarding restrictions imposed by the European Union on imports of Brazilian chicken. A preliminary examination of the measure indicates discrimination, says Carlos Marcio Cozendey, at the Economic Department of the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations.
According to Cozendey, the new EU norms are detrimental to Brazilian chicken producers and have already caused a shutdown at a large exporter.
“Brasília sees this as a case of noncompliance with WTO rules. In fact, there is discrimination of a national product without a sanitation justification,” said the diplomat.
Meanwhile, the Brazilian Union of Poultry Producers complains that the norms could mean up to US$ 450 million in losses.