I. Temporary Import of Raw Materials.
A. General Rule – 18 months.
In terms of Article 108, paragraph II of the Customs Law (the “Customs Law”) and Article 4, paragraph I of the Decree for the Promotion of the Manufacture, Maquila and Export Services Industry (the
“IMMEX Decree”), raw materials, parts and components may remain in the country for a period of 18 months.
Within the 18-month period, the temporarily imported raw materials, parts and components must be returned abroad or its customs regime must be changed from a temporary importation to a permanent one.
As mentioned, this is the general rule. However, the IMMEX Decree (and the Foreign Trade Rules for 2010) provides for other terms for goods that the Mexican government considers as “sensible” or sensitive products. These “sensible/sensitive” products can be temporarily imported, but: (a) they can remain in the country for less than the 18 months; (b) to import them, the company must apply for a special permit and proof to the Mexican government that it meet certain requirements, and; (c) certain goods may not be imported by “Service-type” IMMEX companies.
B. Exemptions to the General Rule
B.1. 6 months
According to Article 4 of the IMMEX Decree and to the Foreign Trade Rules for 2010 (the “Trade Rules”), the following goods may remain in the country for only 6 months:
- those listed in Exhibit I BIS of the IMMEX Decree (at your request, we can provide you with a list of the tariff items listed in the document, but is mainly sugar products).
- those goods received by the company from other IMMEX companies with whom a virtual transfer (transferencias virtuales) is performed.
B.2. 9 months
According to Article 4 of the IMMEX Decree those listed in Exhibit I TER of the IMMEX Decree may remain in the country for 9 months. Exhibit I TER of the IMMEX Decree includes a list of steel products. Attached please find, for you reference, a list of the steel products that are included in such exhibit.
B.3. 12 months
According to Article 4 of the IMMEX Decree those listed in Exhibits II (used tires) and III (textiles products) may remain in the country for 12 months. At your request, we can provide you with a list of such products.
B.4. Certified Companies – 36 months
Please note that those companies authorized as a “Certified Company” have an additional benefit with regards to the term that the goods can remain in the country. Rule 3.8.4, paragraph XXVII of the Trade
Rules, instead of the 18, 12, 9 and 6 month periods, all products imported by certified companies may remain in the country for 36 months. The 36 months apply even to those goods listed in Exhibits I BIS, I TER, II and III of the IMMEX Decree.
Once the company secures the “Certified Company” authorization, the terms of the goods are automatically extended to 36 months, provided that there is no ongoing customs audit.
Also, Rule 3.8.4, paragraph XVII of the Trade Rules provides that for those IMMEX companies that manufacture airplanes or their parts and components, the term is indefinitely, as long as the company has an IMMEX program. Also, a term of 60 months (with the exception of textiles products and those listed in exhibit I TER of the IMMEX Decree) applies to those companies that meet certain requirements and that they have an inventory control system to which the customs authorities have access to and meet very strict requirements.
Regarding samples that the company has stored, they can remain in the country for 18 months or 9 months if included in the Exhibit I – TER of the IMMEX Decree.
D. Obligation to Return Abroad
Before such term expires, the company may: (1) return the goods abroad, or; (2) change the customs regime of the importation from a temporarily to a permanent one.
If the term has expired, the company may: (1) return the goods abroad, or; (2) virtually return the goods by importing them on a permanent basis. In both cases, a fine between MXN$$1,145.00 to
$1,717.00 (USD$99.57 to USD$149.30 – at the Exchange rate of MXN$11.50 per USD$1.00) for every fifteen days that the goods exceed the 18-month period applies (Article 183, section III of the Customs Law). The fine is capped at the commercial value of the goods (i.e. the value declared by the company at the time of import and that was included in the import declaration)
II. Trailers and Containers.
Trailers and containers may be imported for up to 24 months.
III. Machinery and Equipment.
The following items can be imported on a temporarily basis and can remain in the country for as long as the IMMEX program is valid:
- Tools, equipment, production and industrial safety accessories, and products necessary for the hygiene, asepsis and prevention and control of environmental pollution of the production plant, work manuals and industrial blueprints, as well as telecommunication and computer equipment;
- Machinery, apparatus, instruments and spare parts for the production process, laboratory equipment, testing and measuring equipment and the equipment required for quality control, for the training of personnel, as well as the equipment required for the industry’s administrative development.
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Please do not hesitate to let us know in case you have any additional questions or comments regarding this or any other matter.