Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Not on my X-mas card list: Marinha Mercante

Ok troopers, another couple of days have come and gone, and it is official. I am not going to put the DMM (Department Marinha Mercante) on my christmas card list. These guys keep coming up with ways to rain on my parade. By the way these guys are the people who collect the taxes and duties on imports (probably exports also).
Yesterday was a pretty successful day. I got my passport translated, and with this document got my Brazilian Tax number, even though there was an error in the translation. Apparently, the expiry date of 2013, translated to 3013 in Portuguese. Go figure.
So today, the wonderful people at Allink went to Marinha Mercante and tried getting my shipment taken care of. No dice. They insist that I have to pay duty on my vehicle.
Hey guys, I am a tourist, just traveling through. How about, it is used for professional purposes? I am not importing anything, everything will be leaving... No dice. Everything was tried. The problem is that they do not have a procedure for handling a case such as mine. Therefore, no amount of argument is going to help. Not to mention that up to now these are the only people who have no interested in even trying to be helpful.
There is a way to get around this duty issue, and that would be by find a Brazilian sponsor, someone who guarantees that I leave the country with my bike. Hey come on guys, even a customs basket case like, Egypt, Syria, or Turkmenistan had no problem with me coming and going, and Brazil is supposed to be a rising star around here.
To be honest I just find the whole thing funny. If I were to come overland, none of these things would be an issue, same action, same result, but a totally different case, so the ladies at Marinha Mercante hide behind their "rules".
Ok, we carry on. At the moment, I am being told that the duty will be 5% of the shipping cost. A figure that is palatable. The problem is that I doubt that will be the end of it. It is too simple, and way, way too low for a duty. Normally these countries levy charges anywhere from 30% to 200% of the value the item in question as import duties. The reason is a protectionist governmental policy. I am not complaining, if it really is only 5%, I will accept it and carry on. I am not happy about it, but I can (have to) accept it. But is that really all??
Not to say I told you so, but I told you so. As soon as I got my tax number, someone wants to load it with debt...
Want some more good news. They don't take cash! It has to be by bank transfer, and I don't even want to know what that will cost or how much trouble that will be for me. So Allink to the rescue again (I hope). If I am lucky, they will take care of the payment, and I will pay them in cash. Tomorrow I will find out if this will work, so stay tuned. This is Brazil, who knows what can happen next. All I am waiting for now, is being told, that since I have imported my bike, I have to get it registered here... Who knows, it could happen!!

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