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Uber celebrates 'victory' after Brazil loosens regulations

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Ride-sharing giant Uber Thursday celebrated the loosening of industry regulations in Brazil following a hard battle with lawmakers in one of its biggest markets.

[BRASÍLIA] Ride-sharing giant Uber Thursday celebrated the loosening of industry regulations in Brazil following a hard battle with lawmakers in one of its biggest markets.

"The Chamber of Deputies went a step further so Brazil has modern regulation which makes good use of technology for the good of people and cities," Uber said in a message to its local users.

The legislation, which regulates ride-sharing apps at a national level, does not include aspects of an initial draft which organisations including Uber and competitors Cabify and 99 said threatened their operations.

The first draft required drivers to obtain a special license issued by local authorities and own the vehicle they were driving - something not required of taxi drivers.

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The final version states local authorities can create rules and supervise such private hire services, but they cannot control them through the issue of licenses.

Uber - which has 20 million users and 500,000 drivers in Brazil - organised protests outside Congress last October protesting the original version of the legislation, while CEO Dara Khosrowshahi traveled to Brazil to meet with lawmakers and finance minister Herique Meirelles.

"Uber always defended modern regulation for private individual transport which uses applications, and today we can celebrate this victory," the company said.

Uber operates in over 600 cities worldwide, facing widespread resistance including from taxi driver unions that accuse them of unfair competition.

AFP