Brazilians adore perfume. In Northeast Brazil – the region with 42.5 percent of perfume sales – 79.7 percent of the population use perfumes, according to the Union for the Industry of Perfumes and Toiletries of São Paulo (SIPATESP). I was therefore not surprised to learn that in 2010 Brazil overtook the United States as the world’s largest market for perfumes with US$6 billion in sales (Euromonitor International).
At Ceará Importers,* we imported a wide selection of perfumes and toiletries of several popular American and European brands. Our suppliers provided us with the declarations of manufacturing and quality controls required by the Brazilian health authority for obtaining our import licenses. Translation of product labels from English to Portuguese, required for commercialization of these products in Brazil, became my responsibility.
When import regulations became more rigorous, we had secured contracts with two American manufacturers for retail and distribution of their products, one for toiletries and the other for Alternative Perfumes, throughout Northeast Brazil. Under the new regulations issued by the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) in Brasilia, importers in the sector had to obtain an Operational License, as was required for national manufacturers. This meant the provision of a laboratory and qualified technical staff for quality control, as well as special storage facilities (Portaria SVS/MS nr 71/1996).
While construction was underway, I became the contact person between our American partners and the pharmacist contracted to prepare the product dossiers for our registration applications. Without a chemistry background, I found translations of the chemical formulas from English to Portuguese a laborious task. The time-consuming process for regularization with ANVISA must have frustrated our American partners.
Current norms and procedures required by ANVISA for the registration of perfumes, toiletries and cosmetics – including the documents required for product registration – are set out in Resolution RDC 211/2005.
To avoid excessive delays or deferment during the application process, our firm’s directors contracted a health professional in Brasilia, experienced in working with ANVISA. When dealing with government bureaucracy, it pays to work with those who understand the system. It took time. We experienced setbacks, but it all worked out well in the end.
Regulations for importing products controlled by ANVISA can change without advance notice. I kept abreast with changing norms and procedures through daily perusal of the Diário Oficial da União which publicizes legal federal matters.
With more and more Brazilians entering the middle class, the demand has grown for perfumes, toiletries, and cosmetics. In their Panorama of the Sector, published in April 2012, the Brazilian Association of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Industry (ABIHPEC) demonstrated growth of 340.9 percent and 293.5 percent in imports and exports respectively during the period 2002 to 2011. Today, the Brazil market for this sector ranks in third place worldwide behind the United States and Japan.
* Fictitious Name