On January 1, 2022, the National Customs Agency (ANAM) started full operations as an independent agency outside Mexico’s Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit (Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público or SHCP). Previously, customs-related functions were overseen by Mexico’s Tax Administrative Service (Servicio de Administración Tributaria or SAT, part of the SHCP).
On 21 June, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador announced the new head of the National Customs Agency (ANAM), General André Georges Foullon Van Lissum (Ret.). With this designation, the ANAM is essentially led, directed, and operated entirely by the Mexican Army.
ANAM coordinates its tasks with the Departments of Defense and Navy to maintain security at customs border crossing points and works with SAT for proper collection, administration, and accounting. Recent modifications to the internal regulations of the National Customs Agency give management authority over the country’s customs services at ports and land ports of entry to the Secretaries of National Defense (SEDENA) and the Navy (SEMAR).
Some U.S. exporters have expressed concerns about SAT/ANAM procedures. These include insufficient prior notification of procedural changes, inconsistent interpretation of regulatory requirements at different border posts, and inconsistent enforcement of Mexican standards and labeling rules.
Agricultural exporters note that Mexican inspection and clearance procedures for some agricultural goods can be long, burdensome, non-transparent, and unreliable.
Customs procedures for express packages continue to be difficult. Under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Mexico amended its General Foreign Trade Rules and changed its “tasa global”, which is a combination duty and charge on all shipments entering under simplified clearance (de minimis and informal entry) methods. This change includes shipments from the United States and Canada. Goods coming from the United States valued at USD 50 or less will not be charged duties or taxes. Goods valued from USD 50 to USD 117 will be charged a 17 percent tax but will not be charged duties.
Customs Trade Facilitation for Imports via Courier and Parcel Companies
On May 9, 2022, the Mexican Ministry of Economy published an updated agreement on the General Rules and Criteria Regarding Foreign Trade. This change in the regulation would allow Mexican importers to import through courier and parcel companies:
- Without having a Mexican Customs License / Importer of record (Padron de Importadores)
- Without hiring a Customs Broker Agent
- Exempting Mexican Standards/NOM
- With a new threshold for imports up to USD 2,500 value at the Mexican Customs Ports
Before May 9, 2022, the threshold exemption for NOMs was USD 1,000. With this change, the benefit now rises to USD 2,500 exclusively for courier and parcel companies.
This change does not impact global import tax rates applied to imports via courier and parcel companies, which remain the same.
We strongly recommend that U.S. exporters communicate with their Mexican clients about these new benefits. Be aware that the Government of Mexico (GOM) can limit these imports if it is suspected that the importer is using this scheme to avoid regulations, restrictions, or tax payments.
An important reminder, this trade facilitation tool was created to help Mexican importers to make one-time or limited imports, not recurring business imports.
On June 7, 2022, the Mexican Ministry of Economy published a decree on the import and export general tax law, which contains new tariffs, taxes, and provisions on Commercial Identification Numbers (NICO) and the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HS Codes), following the full implementation of the Seventh Amendment of the Harmonized System directed by the World Customs Organization (WCO) to its membership. The target changes include international product codes for global trade.
United States exporters and Mexican importers are responsible for making necessary updates and using the correct HS code. Since HS codes establish tariff classification for goods, it is critical for U.S. exporters to be aware of their HS codes when shipping to Mexico. The amendment consists of roughly 350 changes, giving some goods new HS codes, changing some definitions, and deleting other codes because the products are considered obsolete.
United States exporters should contact their Mexican clients and partners to be aware of the process and changes in the HS code system to avoid mistakes and delays at Mexican ports of entry. Using incorrect HS codes can unnecessarily complicate cross-border sales. During 2021, some companies experienced delays in the import process due to the incorporation of “trade identification numbers or TIN” (Numero de Identificacion Comercial or NICO).
On May 18, 2023, the GOM implemented a regulation prohibiting Mexican companies from importing goods that involve forced and child labor. The Ministry of Economy established a procedure which will be processed by the Mexican Department of Labor to facilitate the reception, analysis, and response to situations in which the use of labor from workers in a situation of forced or compulsory labor is presumed, including child labor, by companies located outside the territory of the USMCA that intend to import merchandise derived from such work into Mexico.
In this context, the term “Forced or Compulsory Labor” refers to “all work or service required of an individual, including minors, under the threat of any penalty and for which said individual does not offer himself voluntarily”, in accordance with Article 2(1) of the Forced Labor Convention, 1930 (Convention 29) of the International Labor Organization, published in Mexico’s Official Gazette on August 13, 1935. See: https://dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle.php?codigo=5679955&fecha=17/02/2023#gsc.tab=0
We strongly recommend U.S. exporters maintain close contact with their Mexican clients and partners to be aware of potential new requirements, paperwork, and certifications to comply with these mandatory requirements. Moreover, the Mexican Department of Labor may request the assistance and information it deems necessary from the U.S. and other foreign authorities to complete their investigations.
Mexican National Customs Agency (ANAM) Helpline
Tel: +1 844 549 7885
Tax Administration Service (SAT)
Tel: +52 55 6272 2728 (from the United States)
Secretariat of Economy (SE)
Tel: +52 55 5229-6260
For more information and help with customs regulations in Mexico please contact:
Manuel “Manny” Velazquez
Trade Facilitation and Customs Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service —Monterrey
Tel.: +52 (81) 8047-3248