With the sweeping changes and reforms that were passed in 2013, Mexico’s current government has demonstrated its commitment to modernizing and improving the nation’s business and economic climate.
One area that has seen real change as a result of this activity pertains to the rules governing customs laws and procedures. Customs reform in Mexico has resulted in a newly defined playing field.
The most notable change in this realm involves customs brokers, and their role in Mexican import-export transactions. Prior to this year, most customs clearance transactions were required to be processed by licensed customs brokers who executed formal customs clearing transactions. Because this situation created a bit of a monopoly over time. As a result, customs reform in Mexico has been enacted in order to opened the field to allow Mexican customs transactions to be handled by non-licensed parties, so long a company or individual’s chosen representative meets some criteria: persons engaged in these activities must be a Mexican national current in all tax obligations, must be formally employed by the principal company or individual, and must be able to prove previous foreign trade operations experience.
Companies that choose to exercise this option must obtain an authorization number from the Tax Administration Service to submit pedimentos (Mexico’s most important customs form) and dispatch products through the Customs electronic system. Notices and alerts from the government, as well as audits, will be performed across this electronic platform. The move to modernize the process is intended to streamline various tax procedures, which have been prolonged and difficult in the past.
Other significant changes brought about by customs reform in Mexico relate to:
- Expansion of the authority of customs officials
- Provisions for changes to customs penalty schedule
- Flexibility on location of Customs clearance
- Increase in coordination with other countries to monitor compliance permitted
- Pre-validation of companies
- Increased in requirements for carriers
Simplified process to become a certified company
Companies should do their due diligence to review these issues related to recent changes in Mexican Custom, and make any necessary changes in order to ensure that compliance is one hundred percent.
If the choice is made to handle import/export operations directly, or through a broker, companies should take into consideration this new set of rules that they may or may not be able to abide by without a broker to assist. Most importantly, companies not currently certified should take advantage of the simplified process and apply for certification if this is within their corporate focus and ability. One of the main advantages of being certified by Mexican Customs is that “certified” company’s shipment receive priority treatment in times of border congestion.