Nominated for the position of director of the Central Bank, economist Renato Dias de Brito Gomes lamented the fact that foreign retailers operating in Brazil, such as Shopee, Mercado Livre and AliExpress, do not pay tax on the delivery of products from abroad. “It is unfortunate for the country that platforms have access to our market basically without taxation,” he said in a hearing before the Federal Senate on Tuesday morning (5).
Brito Gomes is appointed to take on a vacancy as Director of Organization of the Financial System after the end of the mandate of economist João Manoel Pinho de Mello, in December 2022. This is the area of the BC responsible for authorizing the adhesion of new companies to the Brazilian System (SBP) and monitor Pix.
For the nominee to take the vacancy in BC, the problem of tax exemption on foreign retailers operating in the country is considered “relevant and that certainly has to be resolved”. When questioned on the subject by Senator Fernando Bezerra (MDB-PE), Brito Gomes said that an answer is needed to tax international purchases, and argued that this does not currently occur because there are “tax loopholes”.
Fernando Bezerra, who was the rapporteur for the nomination of Brito Gomes in the Senate, asked the economist if the BC could establish a collaboration between payment institutions with the Brazilian state to try to tax products coming from abroad.
In response, Sabbatinado said that he thinks it is fair that these institutions can assist in “tax inspection” on sales. This would especially affect transactions between people in the marketplace model — one of the reasons for complaints from Brazilian businessmen about Mercado Livre, Shopee and AliExpress.
However, Brito Gomes cited that taxation on payments for purchases made on foreign platforms would not be a good idea. The measure could “delay a very important agenda for the Central Bank” according to the economist, who ended his speech by expressing sympathy for Bezerra’s concern about the isonomy of Brazilian retail.
The appointment of Brito Gomes came from the president of the Central Bank, Roberto Campos Neto, and is endorsed by President Jair Bolsonaro. The Ministry of Economy would be preparing a provisional measure (MP) that will define changes in the taxes levied on imported purchases. The PM should affect AliExpress, Mercado Livre, Shopee, Shein and Wish.
At the end of the session, the Senate unanimously approved the name of Brito Gomes to be director of the Organization of the Financial System at the Central Bank. Now, the economist awaits the sanction of his appointment to become an executive of the monetary authority.
The nominee to the BC board defended that the regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges should be based on the prevention of money laundering. Brito Gomes stated that all operations involving virtual currencies are traceable to prevent “terrorist financing”.
If the BC assumes the role of defining rules for the cryptocurrency market in Brazil, the economist believes that the monetary authority should encourage financial education for the transaction of digital assets. “Consumers need to know what they are doing when they trade crypto assets. It does not work as insurance for income fluctuations.”
In the field of technology, Brito Gomes has experience as a research economist at Google and an antitrust consultant at Facebook. He contributed to the auction format used by the company to define the Google AdX digital advertising system. Graduated in Economics from PUC-Rio, the professional has already participated in studies carried out by the Gates Foundation on the interoperability of mobile payment methods.