As was the case in other important areas during the fall of 2013, the Mexican government enacted changes to and reformed the “Ley Aduanera,” or the Mexican Customs Law.
One of the most significant provisions attached to this reform gave companies involved in international commerce the option of using licensed Mexican customs brokers to process the paperwork and conduct the transactions necessary to keep them in compliance with Customs rules and regulations, or hiring a non-licensed, in-house party to carry out pre-validation activities for Mexican Customs purposes. In short, the reform initiative eliminated the requirement that transfers of foreign goods be conducted only through a licensed custom broker. Despite these changes, companies seem to be sticking with the tried and true method of conducting import-export operations through Mexican customs brokers.
The president of the Customs Agents Association in Ciudad Juarez, known by its Spanish acronym AAA, Rodolfo Martinez Garcia, recently reported that there has been little change as to how companies conduct there Customs business, since they were given an option as to how to do so resulting from the reform provisions contained in the updated Mexican Customs Law. Martinez notes that reasons for this include the following:
- When companies use licensed customs brokers, they pay on a fee for service basis. Hiring non-licensed, specialist personnel to perform the required functions internally carries creates the need to pay fixed salary, as well as accompanying benefits.
- Switching from a the use of a customs brokerage manned with licensed Mexican customs brokers to a non-licensed, in-house specialists shifts significant liability from the licensed customs broker to the in-house specialist that has been contracted to perform international trade functions internally.
Despite having this new option as to how to transact international commerce, companies on the U.S.-Mexican border at Ciudad Juarez paid a total of approximately $84.2 million Mexican Pesos for the services of Mexican customs brokers during the months of January and February of this year. Expenditures for the same services during the same period in 2013 were $80.2 million Mexican Pesos and $75.5 million pesos respectively.
Garcia notes that the competition for companies’ customs business resulting from the reform of the Ley Aduanera in 2013 has been healthy for those providing services in this realm. The aim of this particular provision of the Reform was to eliminate red tape an cost for micro, small and medium sized business seeking to engage in international trade activities. Due to the institutional expertise that has been built up as a result of decades of experience, however, Mexican customs brokers have felt little, if any negative, effects on their businesses thus far.