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Brazil Revamps Foreign Trade Chamber in Effort to Prioritise Trade Policy

The Brazilian government has modified the administrative structure of the Foreign Trade Chamber (Câmara de Comércio Exterior, or CAMEX), the government agency in charge of the formulation, adoption, implementation and co-ordination of policies and activities relating to foreign trade in goods and services. CAMEX had previously been part of the Presidency of the Republic but was placed under the umbrella of the Ministry of Economy effective 1 January 2019.

Press reports indicate that the administrative changes are intended to prioritise Brazil’s trade policy and de-bureaucratise day-to-day decisions with an impact on trade. Among other things, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will now have a symbolic role as head of the trade strategy council and the minister of defence will participate in CAMEX’s decision-making process for the first time. Perhaps more importantly, the Ministry of Economy will now hold five of ten seats with voting rights in the CAMEX executive committee, including the presidency of the committee (to be held by Minister of Economy Paulo Guedes). Additionally, the new structure incorporates a consultative council representing the Brazilian private sector.

The greater weight allotted to the Ministry of Economy, which is particularly supportive of trade and market liberalisation measures, could result in a more concerted effort to pursue trade liberalising measures in Brazil. Then again, some observers believe the establishment of additional committees within CAMEX could slow down the overall decision-making process.

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