The Manaus Free Zone since its inception has been attacked. The first of them was soon after its creation on February 28, 1967. Ten months later, on December 22 of that same year, the military government was pressured from other states and excluded by decree-law products such as perfume, alcoholic beverages, passengers, weapons and ammunition of the ZFM benefits. There have been several similar attempts since then.
The most recent attack hit the concentrate industry and left consequences at the end of the year. Pepsi is leaving the Manaus Free Trade Zone and there is no way to avoid it. Even though some measures that are underway may come to fruition, reducing this damage caused in the Manaus Free Zone, there is no turning back.
The situation we reached began to be drawn in June this year, when President Michel Temer changed the collection of IPI (Tax on Industrialized Products) on concentrate for the production of soft drinks. The syrup began to pay a 4% rate of IPI, compared to the 20% that were previously charged.
In July of this year, I wrote a article, where I spoke about the damage that the reduction could cause and the whole movement of the parliamentary front of the Amazon to avoid further damage. But in practice nothing had any effect.
The reduction of the IPI was the last straw for Pepsi's exit, but it is not the only cause for the company to decide to leave the city. The collection of ICMS (Tax on Movement of Goods and Services), which was moved by the State Government, and the pending judgment on the credit that the Free Zone gives on its intermediary products sold outside Manaus, generate the same insecurity.
These three factors directly hurt the concentrate industry, but potentially can target any sector of the ZFM. The question that remains for the entrepreneurs who want to come here and for those who are here: is it still safe to invest in the Manaus Free Trade Zone?
ZFM has a great challenge to face by 2019. And so that terror does not spread, these issues must be resolved promptly.