Brazil dispute disrupts corn export payments, industry group says


By Nayara Figueiredo

SAO PAULO, July 29 (Reuters) - A protest by Brazilian federal revenue service auditors is delaying clearance of documents needed to receive payments for corn exports, according to a local trade group representing global grain traders.

The issue has been affecting exporters since the beginning of the year, including at the height of Brazil's soybean exporting season in January, said Sergio Mendes, director general of Anec, in an interview.

There is no end in sight and the problem is only getting worse, said Mendes, whose trade body represents the likes of

Cargill, ADM, LDC LOUDR.UL and Cofco CNCOF.UL.

The auditors have been protesting since December 2021, demanding more staff be hired as well as a pay raise and bonuses linked to performance, according to Unafisco, the auditors' union.

The Economy Ministry declined to comment on the protest, which has slowed paperwork without stopping export activity completely. Anec data show Brazilian corn exports rising 110% through July.

Yet the protest by revenue service auditors is just one example of obstacles to doing business in Brazil, the world's largest supplier of soybeans and other agricultural commodities, as companies sourcing millions of tonnes of grain there face hurdles such as red tape and logistical bottlenecks in storing and sending produce to ports.

Brazil is harvesting a second corn crop bigger than last year and traders are likely to export more of it than last year, as demand is strong amid a supply gap left by a lack of supplies from Ukraine.

Mendes said companies are resorting to costly alternatives to have the paperwork in order to receive payments. "The scenario is shaping up to be much worse," he said.

(Reporting by Nayara Figueiredo; Writing by Ana Mano; Editing by David Holmes)

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