Mexican Customs Regimes – Regimenes aduaneros Mexicanos

By Brenda Cordova, Braumiller Law Group Mexico Legal Counsel​​

This article is aimed to briefly explain what is Mexican Customs regime, when and how it is used and why any party entering or extracting goods in or out of Mexico should be aware of its importance for compliance.

Although there is not a technical definition of what a Mexican Customs regime is, this concept is found numerous times under the Mexican customs legislation.  Basically, a customs regime encompasses the reason or the purpose why an importer or exporter intends to enter or extract the goods in Mexico.  It is reported under the corresponding records filed for customs clearance and the pertinent goods must comply with it at all times.  It is relevant because it is one of the key elements required to find the tariff and non-tariff regulations applicable to the goods and customs operations.

The available customs regimes are the following:
A. Definitive
     a. for goods imported to remain in Mexico permanently for an unlimited period of time
     b. for goods exported abroad permanently for an unlimited period of time
B. Temporary
     I. Importation:
         a. for goods imported temporarily into Mexico for a limited period of time, for a specific purpose and then returned abroad in the same condition
        b. for goods imported temporarily into Mexico to be elaborated, transformed or repaired by maquila or an exportation program and be returned abroad afterwards (IMMEX).
     II. Exportation:
       a. for goods to be exported temporarily for a limited period of time, for a specific purpose and returned to Mexico in the same condition
          b. for goods to be exported abroad for a maximum of two years for a transformation, elaboration, or repair process.
C. Fiscal Deposit
   a. for goods to be stored up to 24 months in bonded warehouses where they can be maintained, displayed, labeled, packed, analyzed, displayed and tested.
D. Transit of Goods
      a. for goods to be moved under customs control and subject to limited periods of time from one Customs check point to another within Mexico. Dependent upon whether the goods come from abroad or from within Mexic0 and the final destination of the goods, the transit can be domestic or international.
E. Recinto fiscalizado
     a. For goods to be elaborated, transformed or repaired in foreign trade zones and subsequently returned or exported abroad.
F. Strategic recinto fiscalizado
     a. For goods to be imported temporarily to be handled, stored, guarded, displayed, sold, distributed, elaborated, transformed, or repaired in foreign trade zones.

Once the Mexican importer or exporter has identified the customs regime applicable to its operation, it must report it on the pedimento (MX form for customs clearance).  Such report does not just imply typing any of the above different names as listed, instead, specific codes must be used.  For example, “ITE” is for “temporary importation for the elaboration, transformation or repair by companies with an IMMEX program”, “DFI” is for “fiscal deposit” and so forth.  On the other hand, there are 76 pedimento codes.  Each one is divided into various different scenarios.   The reported code of the customs regime must also be consistent with the pedimento code and the specific scenario of the customs operation.  For example, a scenario where an IMMEX transfers temporarily imported goods to another IMMEX, a pedimento code “V1” for “virtual transfers” should be under the customs regime of “temporary importation by IMMEX”.  In addition, there are over 150 identifier codes that identify some more specific information about customs operations or involved parties.  For example, a “CI” identifier code, which is for VAT certified companies, can only be used by an IMMEX and other temporary importation customs regimes.

Most of the time it is possible to change from one customs regime to another.  For example, a temporary importation of goods performed by a maquila can later be changed to a definitive importation so that the goods can remain in Mexico permanently for consumption.  However, when changing a customs regime additional requirements may apply.  For example, temporary customs regimes are not always required to comply with all of the tariff and non-tariff restrictions.  Meanwhile, definite importations are required to pay the import duty, the value added tax and the merchandise processing fee as well as to obtain import licenses, permits, certifications, bonds, and provide information about weight, volume, size, serial number, brand, model, among other requirements.  The logic behind this is mainly that a temporary importation does not imply a sale, whereas a definitive importation means that a sale for consumption in Mexico has taken place – thus, in addition to customs, tax implications can arise.

Selecting and reporting the correct customs regime is critical for compliance, and to help accomplish this, the parties to an extraction or entry of goods into Mexico must have as much information as possible about the reason or purpose behind the customs operation, including information about the conditions of the customs operation and parties involved, among other data.  A thorough review of all this is relevant to identify the correct customs regime and to make it consistent with the rest of the information pertaining to a specific entry or extraction of goods into Mexico, otherwise sanctions and penalties may be imposed against the parties.

In addition, there is a significant amount of information that must be reviewed to identify the correct customs regime.  The applicable customs provisions can be found under the Mexican Customs law, the Regulations to the Customs Law, the General Customs Rules, and Annex 22 of the General Customs Rules.  Unfortunately, it can be complex to keep track of the most recent versions of such legal provisions because the updates and amendments are scattered as they are published separately.  Therefore, it is important stay up to date on the most current version of the law.

The above is presented to you for informational purposes only and does not provide any legal advice from Braumiller Law  Group, or any of its members. If you need any help on determining the correct customs regime, please do not hesitate to contact one of our attorneys for assistance.  

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