Richard Meijer

What I am doing: Besides running a privately hold real estate business I am blogging om MasterClass Brazil was set up to provide a one-stop source of deep-knowledge for the growing foreign business community in Brazil. Why: Having been in Brazil for around 20 years, I have seen many big companies, expats and individuals failing miserably. I have burned myself once in Brazil, setting up ProgressOil, a company focused on the supply of Brazilian castor oil. I am now running a privately hold real estate business in Brazil. From all these experiences I have learned a lot. Despite the fact that I speak the language reasonable well, have a strong network and understand the do's and don'ts better, I am absolutely not saying I am an expert or specialist. Everyday I am learning new things and I believe Brazil is changing in such a rapid pace that the only way to survive in Brazil is to generously absorb and understand the information available to you. From my experience I have learned that there is a lot of information, facts and data about Brazil. I have set up MasterClassBrazil to structure this information so you can turn it in true knowledge, enabling you to be successful in your endeavors. There is nothing in the world so rewarding as sharing expertise and knowledge. Richard Meijer

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Brazil’s Boom Creates Demand for Talent –

Brazil’s Boom Creates Demand for Talent

Multinational companies are taking extra measures to secure qualified employees in Brazil’s booming economy. To cope with a talent shortage, many are beefing up internship programs, spending more on training and salaries and relocating workers from flat or declining markets.

Brazil's economy has soared in recent years: In 2010, U.S. foreign direct investment in the country totaled $6.2 billion, up from $2.4 billion in 2003.

Particularly in demand: English-speaking managers and engineers, as well as those with experience in business development.

Brazil’s economy has soared in recent years as its oil, gas and ethanol sectors thrived. In 2010, U.S. foreign direct investment in Brazil totaled $6.2 billion, up from $2.4 billion in 2003, according to the Banco Central do Brasil. From January through April this year, U.S. investment reached $3.1 billion. To read the full article please visit: Brazil’s Boom Creates Demand for Talent –


Visa for foreign investors

Foreign investors may apply for a permanent visa in order to live and personally run their businesses in Brazil. The requirements are listed in this resolution of the Ministry of Labour and Employment

Permanent visas based on investment may be granted to applicants who will invest a minimum of R$ 150,000.00 in Brazil, which must be proved by a statement issued by the Brazilian Central Bank."Brazilian Visa"

Authorisation for this type of visa must be requested by the applicant, or his/her representative directly in Brazil by the Ministry of Labour and Employment.

The Consulate will only issue the visa once the Ministry of Labour and Employment authorizes the Consulate to do so.

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Brazil | Military Dictatorship | Truth Commission

Brazil grapples with its violent history

For the first time, Brazil is allowing access to documents that might unmask tortures from the military dictatorship.

When President Dilma Rousseff, a former urban guerrilla tortured for 22 straight days with electric shocks under Brazil’s military dictatorship, took office in January she was ambivalent about her past as a young activist: “I don’t have any regrets, nor any resentment or rancor,” she said.

Rousseff has since done little for those looking for justice for crimes under the dictatorship. For one, her new government has waffled on whether it supports allowing archival documents to be declassified as confidential in a proposed access-to-information law. Continue reading

Top 5 Compliance Issues for Businesses Expanding to Brazil

Depending on the opportunity – and there are many – doing business in Brazil can be quite rewarding. And it certainly is an adventure. But while Brazil offers a wealth of opportunities to prospective investors, it is also a country beset with bureaucratic and cultural difficulties – so it is imperative to do your homework in advance.

via Top 5 Compliance Issues for Businesses Expanding to Brazil.

Doing business in Brazil: opportunities, challenges – Business Monday –

I have been doing business in Brazil for a decade now. That experience has shown me that doing business in Brazil has great rewards for investors, but also presents a series of challenges.

With growth rates above G-7 countries, investment grade, current GDP close to 2 trillion, inflation under control, a relatively comfortable balance of payments, a market of 190 million people, and a strong manufacturing and commodities production base, Brazil is attracting a lot of interest.

Any investor thinking in doing business in Brazil needs to have key information regarding: (a) how to enter the market, (b) sources of funding, (c) investment incentives, (d) taxes, (e) labor, and (f) international trade.

How to enter the market: The main ways to enter Brazil are through: (a) Sales representation or a distribution network, (b) setting up a subsidiary or a branch, or (c) acquire a company.

Setting up sales representation and distribution networks is challenging even though it saves costs when compared to the incorporation of a subsidiary. The challenges are mostly related to finding the right individual or company and the potential lack of control over the way third parties distribute your products and deal with your trademarks.

In starting up a company, most likely you will have to decide if you start a corporation or a LLC. There are some key differences with the type of LLCs and corporations we have in the US.

Acquiring a company presents its own challenges as well. M&A activity in Brazil increased sharply during the last few years. Most transactions in Brazil are in the range of US$10-US$50 million. Some of the issues in company acquisition are: informal practices (income not recorded), unregistered employees, aggressive tax planning, low quality of financial information and controls, high number of tax lawsuits, and succession risks. Thus, a high quality due diligence is a must in the pre-acquisition phase.

Sources of Funding: Ideally, capital should come from the parent company, since bank credit is very expensive. According to the Brazilian Central Bank, the median interest rate for a working capital loan from a commercial bank is about 28% per year and the median for a capital expenditures loan is around 23% per year. Larger companies, though, might tap the public markets through issuance of stock and/or bonds and notes. Other traditional forms of financing are available as well. For long-term financing, Brazilian firms use the Brazilian Development bank (BNDES).

Investment incentives: I categorize those by geographical area, for international trade and by economic sector. Some states and cities offer tax incentives, free land and building leases. There are other incentives for industrial and agricultural technology, oil and gas, infrastructure, port facilities, the semiconductor industry, and the industry of equipments for digital TV. There are also tax incentives for exports and export focused companies.

Taxes: Brazil has a complex tax system. Even though the direct tax system is relatively straight forward, the indirect tax system is complicated. Brazil has foreign tax exemption and credit, its own pricing transfer rules, tax loss carry forwards (offset up to 30% of taxable base per year), heavy penalties for delay of payments and fraud, and no tax treaty with the US. It does not have tax carry backs.

Labor: Labor cost inflation in Brazil is among the highest in Latin America. Decrease in unemployment and the strengthening of the Real against the dollar increased salaries in dollar terms. There is also a myriad of labor charges besides salaries.

International trade: Export revenues are generally tax exempt, except for corporate taxes. Even though the Brazilian government has tried to simplify and lower import tariffs over time, still there are a number of taxes foreign investors have to know. Brazilian importers also have a series of special custom regimes.

Foreign firms reap high rewards when investing in Brazil. Rates of return are generally higher than here in the US. It is a market with a great future. However, foreign investors, be aware of the key issues you need to consider before investing in Brazil.

Luis Fernando Lopez Cobo, PhD, is President of Mergium Advisors, an M&A, capital raising, business valuation, and business intelligence firm based in South Florida.

Comments on Brazils labour laws: Employer, beware | The Economist

Comments on Brazils labour laws: , beware | The Economist.

Brazil’s labour laws

Employer, beware, an archaic labour code penalises businesses and workers alike

Mar 10th 2011 | SÃO PAULO | from the print edition

IN 1994 Ricardo Lemos (not his real name) and two friends bought a chain of pharmacies in Pernambuco, in Brazil’s north-east. Immediately afterwards they were taken to court by four former employees of the pharmacies who claimed they were owed 500,000 reais (then $570,000) for overtime and holidays. Since the new owners lacked the payroll records, the labour court ruled against them—even though they had only just bought the business and the claimants had been in charge of payroll and work scheduling. The court froze their bank accounts, so they had to close the stores, with 35 redundancies. Seventeen years later three of the cases have been settled, for a total of 191,000 reais. The last drags on as the claimant’s widow and son squabble over how much to accept.



Depending on the purpose of visit and on the visitor’s nationality, a visa is not required to enter Brazil. EU citizens on a tourism or business trip to Brazil, for instance, are exempt. For other cases, check below at “How to apply for a visa” whether you are exempt or not. Even if you are exempt from a visa, on arrival in Brazil you must produce a passport valid for at least six months.

Argentinians, Bolivians, Chileans, Colombians, Ecuadorians, Paraguayans, Peruvians and Uruguayans are exempt from passport requirement to enter Brazil as tourists. Nationals from these countries may simply produce their national identity cards instead.

Additionally, you may be required by the Brazilian Migration Police (Polícia Federal) to meet the following conditions:

1) Prove you have sufficient funds for your term of stay.

2) Demonstrate your travel objective (for instance, by means of a hotel reservation and a roundtrip ticket, in case of a tourism trip).



Visas are classified according to the nature of the trip and stay in Brazil.
Most cases of visa application fall under one of the types below.
Please click on the line that best fits your case or send an e-mail to asking for further instructions on how to apply.

VITUR – tourists
VIPER – investor
VIPER – manager or representative in Brazil of a financial foreign institution
VIPER – head of philanthropic or religious institution or public interest NGO
VIPER- retiree
VIPER – family reunion (marriage)
VIPER – researcher
VITEM I – researcher or exchange students program
VITEM I – voluntary worker
VITEM II – adoption
VITEM II – business trip
VITEM II – filming
VITEM III – artists and sportsmen
VITEM IV – undergraduate, master or doctorate student / internship visa
VITEM V – professional worker
VITEM V – professional on an emergency technical assistance mission
VITEM VI – news correspondents
VITEM VII – ministers of a religious creed or members of a religious congregation

VIDIP and VISOF Diplomatic and Official Visas

A few kinds of visas (VITEM-III, VITEM-V, VITEM-VI and VIPER) are only issued under authorization from Brazilian home authorities.Click here to check whether the Consulate General has been authorized to issue you a visa.

Politics in Brazil: Dilma tries to drain the swamp | The Economist

Politics in Brazil: Dilma tries to drain the swamp | The Economist.

As another minister goes, Brazil’s president may find that the price of trying to clean up politics involves forgoing reforms the country needs.

SHE arrived in the presidential palace with a reputation as a no-nonsense manager, but one who had never previously held elected office. Almost eight months into her term as Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff has found herself sucked into the political swamp that is Brasília. She has reacted firmly to corruption scandals, and is striving to trim budget pork and to fill senior government jobs on merit rather than through political connections. Her reward has been signs of mutiny in her coalition. With the world economy deteriorating, whether Ms Rousseff can impose her authority on her allies matters a lot for Brazil’s prospects.

Emigration to Brazil

Brazilians from the end of the 19th century to...

Image via Wikipedia

Diving into another culture is an exercise of patience, curiosity and common sense. If you plan to spend some time in another country, there is a certain attitude that will benefit you – and several no-nos that might cause you embarrassment or trouble. Certain rules are, of course, universal and would be wise no matter what country you visit. Others are very specific to the Brazilian reality.

Too much sugar, too much salt, lots of food with low nutritious value and three daily cups of coffee. That is on the table of Brazilians, according to a study just released by IBGE, the federal statistics bureau. Even if the balanced and healthy traditional rice-bean-meat menu is still prevalent, the country needs to reconsider its diet. According to IBGE


Living and Doing Business in Brazil

Living and Doing Business in Brazil.

Why salary-related expenses can be very high in Brazil

Many foreign businessmen coming to Brazil are somewhat shocked to learn that the real cost of an employee is twice his gross salary or even more. In other words, if someone earns R$ 1000 per month (pre-tax), the all-included cost for his employer would be R$ 2000. Furthermore, they often (mis)understand that a big part of this additional cost are for taxes and other tax-like expenses of little benefit for the employee himself. Next, they interfere: if someone earns R$ 7000, his real cost must be R$ 14’000! This is wrong as I shall explain later on in this post, whose intention is to bring some clarification about the calculation of these costs. I have a growing feeling that misunderstanding the true cost of labor here leads to bad management decisions, more of the sort of lost opportunities for fear of risks or costs that may not exist at all.

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