According to the announcement by Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Commerce ("MDIC") on January 26, 2009, import into Brazil requires import license for quite a number of products effective immediately. Similar import scheme had been implemented in early 1990s as protectionism measure. Global traders are afraid the new import license requirement is revival of this policy.
The problem for global supply chain is its long lead time of import license application. It have been common for importers to wait up to 60 days! while their import licence applications were under consideration. Apparently, this could be awesome bottleneck for modernized supply chain. In addition, those who fail to comply will face monetary penalties.
The import licence required items are broad and regulated by HS code. They are, Chapter 10, 11, 27, 50 - 63, 73, 84-88, 90, 94 and 95.
This measure could be one of the ways to save domestic industries. With recent significant downturn in global economy, this kind of "protectionism" may spread to other country's customs procedure. It is threat to global free trade.
(Source: http://www.bryancave.com/bulletins/ international trade bulletin No. 423)