Christmas customs come unstuck

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Dwindling stocks of Yorkshire tea in Euromoney’s São Paulo office prompted an internet search that turned up Britsuperstore.com – a website that sends British consumables to far-flung nationals desperate to keep on eating or drinking a little taste of England.

Having found this treasure trove, and being close to Christmas, we piled heaps of UK confectionary into our virtual shopping cart (along with our favourite brand of strong, black tea) and started to dream of a nostalgic festive period, reminiscing over Christmases past in the motherland, eating Marks and Spencer’s mince pies, Curly Wurlys and Lion Bars.

However, on proceeding to the website’s check-out, we found Brazil is absent from its long list of countries eligible for delivery. Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay all feature  – as do even Antarctica, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tuvalu – but not the most recent hosts of the Fifa World Cup.

An email to the company confirmed Euromoney’s worst fears. The site won’t send food parcels to Brazil because of "customs issues".

Brazil is wrestling with the question of how to spark its economy back into life. Given the bureaucratic stranglehold over the country, the more pertinent question might be: how did it ever even make it this far?