In order to be successful, companies that manufacture within the borders of Latin America’s second-largest economy must be knowledgeable regarding the requirements for importing goods into Mexico.
Although much has been done in recent years to simplify the process, those that are importing goods into Mexico must know the applicable rule in order to avoid complications that may include delays and fines.
Those that are importing goods into Mexico must remember that:
1. A Mexican Customs Broker is needed when importing goods into Mexico. Contracting with a party that is fully knowledgeable about Mexican customs rules and procedures will ensure smooth international transactions.
2. Parties to import trade must be registered in Mexico’s Official Register of Importers. This is important because enrolling in the Register is the process by which those importing into Mexico is recognized by the Mexican Tax Authority or SAT. The SAT is part of Mexico’s Secretaria de Hacienda y Credito Publico (SHCP). The SHCP is the Mexican equivalent of the IRS.
3. It is necessary to present import documents (pedimentos) to Mexican Customs Authorities. The pedimento is one of the most important trade documents when importing into Mexico. It must be filled out by a Mexican customs broker and must contain the following:
- Commercial invoice;
- Certificate of origin;
- Certificate of weight and volume;
- Identification (This may include part numbers, brand information, and serial numbers).
The Mexican pedimento, when filed by those importing goods into Mexico, signifies that the good or goods have entered the country legally.
4. The item or items imported into Mexico must be classified using the Harmonized Tariff Code System (HS Code). This is an international system that assigns a specific code to an item or items. This assignment allows customs brokers to identify requirements that apply or tariffs that must be paid when importing into Mexico.
5. A Certificate of Origin is needed to verify the source country of the item or items that are being imported into Mexico. It is absolutely essential that this document is presented to Mexican Customs for without it the good or goods will be denied entry.
It is also fundamentally important to note that when importing goods into Mexico from the US and Canada, a NAFTA Certificate of Origin must be presented.
All companies importing into Mexico are required to follow the five requirements listed above. Stand-alone companies in Mexico must have the expertise on staff to deal with these and other important Mexican Customs issues. Companies that operate in Mexico under the auspices of a shelter company, however, do not have to become directly involved in dealings with Mexican customs when importing goods into Mexico. Shelter companies employ the services of Mexican customs brokers or have them on staff. These parties work on behalf of shelter company clients.