Mexico is a land of opportunity for local and foreign entrepreneurs that are willing to use the geographic and demographic data the country has at its fullest. Mexico offers various benefits for those who want to start a new venture within its limits, but to be able to it, it is necessary to follow a series of rules and guidelines so everything flows swiftly and within the law.

One of the many advantages of working in a country that has over 120 million people is the market it has, where every product, no matter how niche, has a target audience that opens the door for imports, an activity that small and medium companies can be a part of.

To guide or help you be a part of this we’ve compiled a list with 8 points to consider if you’re importing products to México, be it from inside the country or as an external company.

Multiple Ports

Due to its long coastline, Mexico counts with numerous ports that are locates in both the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Due to this, there is a broad variety of ports, each strategically positioned to have its own range. Deciding which port fits your logistic efforts can reduce transport costs from disembarking to the arrival of the products to the warehouses.

In the same vein, it is important to also know what ports are the biggest in the country, since they have a bigger capacity and offer multiple services with a guarantee that they have the expertise on how to deal with imports.

The largest ports in Mexico are:

  • Veracruz (Veracruz, Gulf of Mexico)
  • Ciudad del Carmen (Campeche, Gulf of Mexico)
  • Manzanillo (Colima, Pacific Ocean)
  • Coatzacoalcos (Veracruz, Gulf of Mexico)

List of Importers

To import, it is mandatory to be a part of the List of Importers (Padrón de Importadores), recognized by Mexico’s Customs. This is a registry that helps keep track of taxes about all business that are being done in the country via its imports.

To be a part of it you not only have to be up to day with your taxes and be a part of the Registro Federal de Contribuyentes (Taxes).  This will allow you to be registered as a moral person (Non-profit) or as part of a company.

It is advised to hire a Customs Agent to resolve and speed this process.

Imports of Specific Sectors

Even if you’re already part of the List of Importers, you must check if the products you’re bringing inside the country are part of a special group that has to be considered in the List of Specific Sectors.

These are products that can be considered to have an impact in the country’s economy, such as cigars, alcohol, shoes and clothing, which one require to be registered as a special importer.

Other products that will require a special registration are chemicals, radioactive and nuclear products, explosives, Fireworks, firearms and all things related to them, like parts and machines.

An added when being part of the Special Sector importers is that all warehouses that will contain these products must be thoroughly details and addressed.

Designate prices and inform Customs

Once all prices for your products have been decided, before they go out for sale the full list must be notified to Customs.

The name of your Customs Agent should also be added, and all other info related to taxes, customs, profiles and Firma Electronica and conditions designed by the Servicio de Administraciòn Tributaria (SAT) must be included.

Taxes

Just like every single item that is destined to be sold, taxes must be applied, and there is a specific tax for imports that depends on what is entering the country

The Impuesto General a la Importacion (IGI) (General Tax to Imports) is determined by three factors: Ad Valorem, which is when the percentage  of its value determine its tax, Specific, when the singular item determines the tax and Mixed, one that combines both

In the same vein, there are even more specific taxes to products like complete cars, alcohol, cigars, power drinks, fuels and Candy that contains over 275 calories. This complete list can be checked at SAT’s website.

International Treaties

Mexico isn’t alone in Latin America and the world, and because of this, multiple international treaties have been signed that make importing processes easier if Mexico is involved

During the last decades, Mexico has signed multiple Free-Trade Area treaties with different countries that offer better deals with Customs, taxes and free trade between all parts involved. In 1993 Mexico signed it with the United States and Canada and it has been active ever since. You can check all available countries in this link.

But FTAs aren’t the only benefit the country has. The Pacific Alliance, a joint effort between Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico gives importers and exporters even more benefits and even state support and diffusion for chosen projects.

Bonded Warehouses

To boost the economic growth of the country, Mexico’s government allowed the creation of Bonded Warehouses. A benefit that allows importers to no must pay all taxes at once, but to be able to pay them as their products leave the warehouse.

With this tax regime, international companies can choose to pay the set of taxes and fees for their products later, and store their products if they need, given they have an active contract for warehousing that they are currently paying for it.

The products that qualify are:

  • High Technology
  • Automotive
  • Consumer goods
  • Raw materials

This is a paid service that companies offer with plans that will adjust to the needs of their clients.

Tagging

Even if everything is in order, there is one final barrier to fulfill, and that is to tag certain products to be able to be sold, also known as “marbeteo” in Mexico.

This specific tagging of certain products is required for these items to be sold, but the ones that are the most important are those related to alcohol beverages, which require a special seal, one that will have a special color depending if they are national (green seal) or imported (blue seal).

Marbete.jpg

Source: Juntos Contra la Ilegalidad

Any alcohol beverage that is sold in Mexico and does not have this seal, no matter if the whole process before was done correctly, will be deemed as illegal and its distribution will be punished by the law.

To make this process easier, numerous warehousing and logistics companies offer the tagging service, but it is important to make deals with those that have been recognized by customs and SAT.

Do you have other tips to share about how to import to Mexico? Leave a comment and we will consider it when making a future revision.

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