Customs procedures are often both the most rigid and the most important to understand in order to ensure a) your goods are able to clear in a reasonable amount of time and b) you are keeping your freight and custom duties to a minimum.
As our company grows we are constantly adapting and looking for ways to expedite our lead times, become more efficient in the transition process and expand our sourcing networks. One way that we differentiate ourselves is through ownership of the entire purchasing and freight processes.
In order to stay proactive it is essential that we understand every step in the import/export process, and two of the most important steps are customs procedures and taxes on imports.
As we have expanded into Mexico and Central America, we have studied and experienced first-hand the benefits of understanding the process regardless of your freight forwarder.
Customs Procedure into Mexico
- Any company that imports goods into Mexico has to be registered on the Mexican Importers Registry, which is classified by sector. All the information you need can be found in the customs classification schedule of the General Rules of Foreign Trade at http://www2.sat.gob.mx/.
- The import agent is responsible for documentation and will be the requester for the goods to clear customs once they arrive at port.
- Documentation consists of the following: Import Requisition (issued by the Ministry of Economy), a commercial invoice, a bill of lading, an exemption permit, and a certificate establishing the origin of goods so that the correct taxes and duties can be applied. Go to http://www.export.gov/mexico/ to find all the documentation listed above.
There are numerous 3PL and 4PL carriers that will assist you through the customs procedure into Mexico. What we have learned through the years is it is important to understand the process and documentation in order to ask the “right questions” and ensure you and your partners are being as fiscally responsible as possible.
Taxes on Imports into Mexico
The average Import tax rate according to UNCTAD (United Nations on Trade and Development is 15%. In comparison to BRIC and other emerging countries, this is relatively high where the average as of 2014 is at 6% (http://data.worldbank.org/). Mexico has made significant steps to lower its barriers of importation in the past ten years by developing the following:
- The Maquiladora Program: Mexico introduced customs duty reductions and exemptions for products that aid the development of local industries.
- Increased Commitment to Free Trade: Mexico currently has Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with 43 countries. It now leads the world in the number of FTAs.
Photo Credit: Lidyanne Aquino