The second in a two part series.

It is a requirement for sending goods to Mexico that all items enter the country within the parameters set by the nation’s Customs service.

In the first installment of this two part series on sending goods to Mexico for purposes other than sale to an end user, we examined the case of commercial samples. Another common instance in which US companies ship products to Mexico for purposes that will not necessarily result in an immediate commercial transaction is the case of trade shows.

The first step to take when a decision has been made to participate in a determined trade show, and, subsequently, sending goods to Mexico becomes a necessity, is to contact the organizer of the exhibition. In a good many instances, companies that promote and execute such commercial gatherings have “built-in” arrangements already in place to work with a particular, or a group, of Mexican customs brokers, or other knowledgeable parties, and freight forwarders for the purpose of facilitating the movement of exhibitor goods to Mexican trade show venues.

If this is not the case, however, as in the previously examined commercial sample scenario, sending goods to Mexico for display in trade exhibitions requires engagement with a Mexican Customs broker, or other qualified party, so that the materials to be shown at the gathering enter the country in compliance with Mexican Customs’ rules and regulations for doing so. Also, as is the case of shipping commercial samples to Mexico, all items sent to the country for display at trade events must be assigned a value and must be classified using the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). If these steps are not complied with a company’s goods will be impounded at the border by Mexican Customs officials, and shipment to its end destination will be delayed.

In the instance of sending goods to Mexico for trade show purposes such as equipment and/or machinery, movement of the merchandise is required to be transacted through Mexican Customs by a broker or other responsible party, as either a temporary, or a definitive import. If the exhibitor has no intention whatsoever of taking purchase orders for the equipment and/or machinery that is shown at the exhibition, importation on a temporary basis is sufficient and appropriate. Since goods displayed at a trade show in Mexico will have a physical presence in the country for a limited and defined period of time, and will return to their point of origin in the same condition in which they entered the country, movement into Mexico is made by virtue of a Mexican customs broker, or other responsible party’s filling out and submitting  a document known as a “pedimento”  to the Mexican Customs Service.  As is the case with commerical samples,  US businesses that are sendiing equipment and/or machinery to Mexico must be sure that the party importing the item(s), (the Importer of Record), is listed in Mexico’s Importer Registry, which is kept by the country’s equivalent of the IRS; the Secretaria de Hacienda y Credito Publico (SCHP). In usual cases, sending items to Mexico under the provisions outlined for  temporary importations will not incur the levy of any taxes or duties.

If a company sending goods to Mexico for display at a trade show that include equipment and/or machinery with the intent of  making sales in the country, then importation of the item(s) must be made on a definitive basis. The “definitive importation” of goods into Mexico occurs, when it is not expected that the item or items will leave the country, and will remain in Mexico for use there. Custom brokers, or other parties that are responsible, for transacting the importation of such goods,  must follow all procedures for doing so  that are specified by Mexican Customs rules and regulations.  They are also responsible to make sure that any taxes and applicable duties are paid upon entry of the machinery and/or equipment into Mexico.

Just as is applicable under the scenario of sending goods to Mexico that include commercial samples, shipping items for display at Mexican trade shows must be transacted following the well-defined rules that have been put in place by the country’s Customs authorities. While some trade show organizers have put the infrastructure in place to facilitate such shipments as a service to exhibitors, others may not have gone to the effort to do so. In these cases, companies sending goods to Mexico for display at trade shows must seek the assistance of Mexican customs brokers, or other knowledgeable parties. Not following the rules set forth for either temporary or definitive importation of goods into Mexico for use in exhibition halls can result in an unpleasant trade show experience.

Contact the professionals at the Tecma Group of Companies with any questions related to this issue.