The decision to open a representative office in Brazil is an important step for an international company interested in setting up a permanent establishment here.
The representative office, or liaison office as it is also called, offers a first entry into the market and, even though it is not used for commercial purposes, it provides valuable intelligence on the Brazilian business climate and market potential.
The benefits of a representative office in Brazil
Once the foreign company will set up a liaison office in Brazil, it will be able to find customers, as well as suppliers, and gain important knowledge on how the market will respond to its product or service. Company formation in Brazil is subject to several important steps, however, the representative office is easier to establish, compared to other business forms.
|Best used for||Advertising and promotional activities, market research, general liaison.|
|Commercial business purposes|
As the parent company’s
It cannot be a party to legal proceedings in its own name.
The foreign company is liable for its Brazil representative office.
|Types of companies that can use a liaison office||
All types of companies interested in exploring their opportunities in the Brazilian market.
|Limitations on foreign companies||
No restrictions apply on the type or size of the foreign company that can open a representative office in Brazil.
An appointed agent.
|Subject to taxes||No|
|Subject to reporting||
Registration is not needed for this business form.
|Alternatives to the Brazil representative office||
Open a branch (subject to approvals and conditions), or incorporate a local company (subsidiary).
|How we can assist you||
Our company formation experts in Brazil assist foreign investors who wish to set up a representative office or open another business form.
|When to contact us for assistance||As soon as the company’s Board considers it is favorable to commence promotional or market research activities in Brazil.|
Foreign companies interested in other options, such as that to open a branch in Brazil, can also reach out to our agents for complete assistance.
The liaison office is, as its name suggests, a point of contact between a foreign company and its Brazilian clients. This office is set up when the parent company abroad is not yet licensed to engage in activities in Brazil.
Once the foreign company completes the process to establish a representative office in Brazil, the office will be able to engage in the following activities:
- perform different types of market research;
- general liaison activities, sourcing potential business partners, or sourcing products for the parent company;
- quality control, and client relations activities;
- engage in administrative assistance activities and drawing up contracts for the parent company;
- hire staff, however, only as necessary to perform the aforementioned types of activities.
A company that decides to open a liaison office in Brazil will essentially create a springboard for its potential future activities in the country. medium and large companies are more inclined to test the market in this manner, as they will have the needed resources for this purpose.
Of course, a foreign company can also open a company in Brazil with no mandatory need to conduct market research beforehand. This means that it will be setting up a subsidiary, and not a branch or a liaison office. Our team can give you more details.
The obligations and limitations of a Brazilian liaison office
The liaison office can be successfully used to gain knowledge on the Brazilian market, clients, and potential business partners, however, it is not a legal entity that can be used to derive income from the country. As such, foreign companies that establish a liaison office in Brazil will not be able to:
- use the office to engage in manufacturing or the provision of services;
- derive income from Brazil, as a result of the liaison office’s activities;
- engage in trading, or the sale of goods or services.
The Brazilian liaison office is limited to non-commercial activities. Therefore, the office, and its appointed representative in Brazil, need to observe the requirements for non-trading.
Doing business in Brazil
According to information released by the Brazilian government, the country recorded its largest trade surplus in history in 2021, with a value of US 61,2 billion. Other data, which is encouraging to foreign companies interested in expanding to the country via a representative office, shows that:
- the 2021 trade value was larger than the one for 2020 by 10.8 billion dollars;
- also in 2021, commodities accounted for 67% of the exports;
- transport is one of the main commercial services exports, and in 2022 it recorded a value of 6,467 million USD (according to the World Trade Organization);
If the decision to open a representative office in Brazil is one that is in line with your foreign company’s goals for expansion, our team will be able to give you more details about company formation, as well as industry-specific regulatory information.
Contact our agents specializing in Brazil company formation if you wish to know more about the registration of a representative office, or the set up of other business forms, such as branches.