For tax purposes, all Mexican importers must register and be listed with the Official Register of Importers (Padrón de Importadores), maintained by the Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit (Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público or SHCP), which also maintains special sector registries. To be eligible to import more than 400 different items (including agricultural products, textiles, chemicals, electronics, and auto parts), Mexican importers must apply to the SHCP to be listed in these sector registries. U.S. exporters have occasionally encountered problems when products are added to the list without notice or importers are summarily dropped from the registry without prior notice or subsequent explanation. It is important to keep in mind that, in many cases, releasing goods from Mexican Customs can take more time than expected.
The basic Mexican import document is the Customs Declaration Form for customs clearance (Pedimento de Importación). Mexico requires import and export documentation including a completed pedimento for all commercial crossings. This document must be accompanied by a commercial invoice (in Spanish), a bill of lading, documents demonstrating guarantee of payment of additional duties for undervalued goods, if applicable, and, if applicable, documents demonstrating compliance with Mexican product safety and performance regulations (see the Standards for Trade section of this guide).
Mexican importers and exporters can dispatch their goods through an authorized legal representative who meets certain technical requirements and who has a certain degree of experience. Mexican customs brokers can clear products through Mexican Customs, but keep in mind that Mexico’s customs regulations are very strict and require total compliance with all requirements by official importers. All commercial imports into Mexico, whether they are temporary or permanent, can be examined by a qualified and authorized Mexican customs broker.
Products qualifying as North American under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) require a minimum set of nine data elements be submitted to prove origin and receive USMCA preferential tariff treatment. This certification may be issued by the importer, exporter, or producer, and it does not have to be validated or formalized. Mexican tax authorities conduct fiscal audits on certain exporters in sensitive industries. A good source of information is the Mexican Tax Administration Service’s (Servicio de Administración Tributaria or SAT) website regarding Verification of USMCA Certification of Origin. Between 2019 and 2020 the number of site verifications and audits conducted by Mexican authorities at U.S. plants appeared to increase. If your company faces such an audit or inspection, please contact the U.S. Commercial Service Mexico.
Starting August 1, 2023, Mexican importers also must comply with the Complemento Carta Porte/Bill of Lading Complement. See the Trade Barriers section of this guide for the specifics of this mandatory requirement.
For more detailed information about certification of origin, future developments, and additional information in connection with the USMCA, please visit the Office of United States Trade Representative (USTR) website, where you can review the complete text agreement.
In the case of the textiles, apparel, and footwear sectors, the importer must be registered in the Padrón for textile, apparel, and footwear products. Companies not registered in the Padrón are not allowed to import these products.
On December 3, 2015, the Government of Mexico (GOM) initiated a special program to strengthen the Mexican textile and apparel industry. The main purpose of this program is to protect local industry against counterfeiting from Asia and to promote the financing programs of the Mexican Development Bank to support small and medium-sized companies in the sector. A number of these measures affect Mexican textile importers, including the use of an importer registry, the establishment of reference prices (though they should not be applied to products accompanied by a USMCA Certification of Origin), as well as a five-day waiting period for all imports.
As is the case with steel products, notice of importation must be provided to the GOM at least five days prior to the shipment and must include the invoice, complete supplier information, and other documents.
The following links provide access to the three versions of the textile, apparel, and footwear Mexican reference price lists:
The GOM created a guide related to the electronic or digital documents that must be attached to the import declaration, which you can find in the following link (English): https://anam.gob.mx/documentos-electronicos-o-digitales-que-se-deben-transmitir-como-anexos-al-pedimento-de-importacion-ing/
For more information and help with import requirements and documentation in Mexico please contact:
Manuel “Manny” Velazquez
Trade Facilitation and Customs Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service —Monterrey
Tel.: +52 818047-3248