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Tax advantages in Brazil have been increased to attract more investment

by | Apr 7, 2024

Brazil, one of Latam’s first and most prominent markets for international investors, has decided to boost the tax advantages it offers companies. The Brazilian government intends to increase national and foreign capital capture by its economy. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) fell 36% year over year in September 2023 to 52.7 billion dollars, which has generated concern for the government of Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva. Even so, the Latin American regional giant continues to be the country that attracts the most investments in the area.

New tax advantages in Brazil aimed at boosting FDI

The new tax incentives in Brazil, announced by Brazil’s Vice President Geraldo Alckmin at the beginning of 2024, are part of a plan by President Luiz Ignácio Lula da Silva to “reindustrialize” the largest Latin American economy, whose industrial production remains below pre-pandemic levels and is 18% lower than its ‘peak’ in 2011. Alckmin recently highlighted, “These new tax incentives in Brazil will attract investments. Our problem is low investment and low productivity. We have to act to increase both.”

The program aims to provide companies with tax benefits to buy new machinery and invest in transportation, encouraging ‘green’ projects such as electric and flexible fuel vehicles, renewable energy, and biofuels. Alckmin highlighted that the first measure establishes a program that reduces income taxes applied to transportation companies so that they invest in new technologies, as well as research and development. It will provide benefits of $721.34 million in 2024 and gradually increase to $4.1 billion in 2028.

Future projects and tax advantages in Brazil

The second measure consists of a bill sent to Congress that proposes 3.4 billion Brazilian reais in tax benefits for companies to renew their machinery. The initiative will also have a second phase. The government expects revenue losses linked to new tax advantages in Brazil to be offset by import taxes, including those on electric vehicles brought from abroad.

The measures come when Brazil is witnessing a reduction in foreign direct investment, which fell 36% between January and November 2023. Capital participation fell by 22.8%, while loan operations granted by parent companies to their subsidiaries or affiliates plummeted by 85% during the same period. However, in November 2023, FDI registered an encouraging increase of 2.6% compared to the same month in 2022, to $7.78 billion. At the end of November 2023, FDI totaled 57.7 billion, equivalent to 2.68% of GDP.

According to financial market forecasts, the Brazilian economy grew around 3% in 2023, where a sharp slowdown is expected in 2024. GDP expansion is expected to be limited to 1.5%. According to the latest ECLAC report, Brazil will lower the pace of economic expansion from 3% to 1.6%, while the IMF projects growth of 1.5% this year. The  Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) foresees an expansion of 1.8% and the Brazilian Treasury of 2.2%. The GDP of South America’s biggest economy grew 2.9% in 2022, following the 5% rebound in 2021 (its most significant advance in 11 years) that followed the 3.9% GDP drop in 2020 due to COVID-19. Before the pandemic, Brazil had several years of weakness: GDP fell 3.8% in 2015 and 3.6% in 2016. Conversely, it grew 1.3% in 2017 and 2018 and 1.1% in 2019.

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Reigniting Industrial Growth is the goal

In conclusion, recently implemented tax advantages in Brazil underscore a strategic shift towards bolstering domestic and foreign investment in its economy. The proactive measures, spearheaded by Vice President Geraldo Alckmin and backed by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, aim to reignite industrial growth. This measure is particularly crucial as the nation continues to grapple with post-pandemic economic recovery. By incentivizing companies to invest in modernizing machinery and embracing sustainable technologies, such as electric vehicles and renewable energy, Brazil demonstrates a commitment to fostering innovation and environmental stewardship while simultaneously stimulating economic activity.

The outlined tax advantages in Brazil encourage immediate investments in crucial sectors like transportation and signal a broader commitment to positioning Brazil as a competitive destination for global capital. By alleviating the tax burden on companies undertaking strategic investments, Brazil seeks to address the twin challenges of low investment and productivity, laying the groundwork for sustained economic expansion in the years ahead. Moreover, the government’s forward-looking approach, as evidenced by the phased implementation of tax incentives, reflects a nuanced understanding of the evolving needs of the economy and the imperative of long-term planning.

Amid concerns over Brazil’s recent decline in foreign direct investment (FDI), these initiatives represent a timely response to the evolving economic landscape, aiming to reverse the trend and bolster the nation’s attractiveness as an investment destination. While economic forecasts suggest a tempered growth outlook for the near term, the concerted efforts to leverage tax advantages in Brazil underscore a proactive stance towards revitalizing economic dynamism and fostering inclusive development. As Brazil navigates the complexities of a post-pandemic world, implementing targeted tax incentives emerges as a pivotal tool in driving sustainable growth and realizing the nation’s full economic potential.

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