Mexico - Country Commercial Guide
U.S. Export Controls

Includes the U.S. government export controls that companies need to abide by when exporting to this country.

Last published date: 2021-09-02

The United States imposes export controls to protect national security interests and promote foreign policy objectives.

Export Controls and Export Licenses

Export licenses are required for sensitive products and high-end technologies before being exported and delivered to end-users. Exports licenses also cover re-exports or transfers, and temporary defense services transactions. Full export license processing in the United States may take several months before a license is granted. Some export licenses are the responsibility of the U.S. Department of State. For defense and military items and services, the State Department issues licenses under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) through the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) and the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN). Licenses for dual-use technologies, products, and services are administrated by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The U.S. Department of Treasury (OFAC) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DSCA) also have oversight roles in trade and security.

BIS End-Use Checks and Training

BIS’s Export Enforcement (EE) is responsible for the enforcement of the EAR. BIS works closely with U.S. embassies, foreign governments, industry, and trade associations to ensure that exports from the United States are secure. In accordance with the EAR, BIS officials conduct site visits, also known as End-Use Checks (EUCs), globally with end-users, consignees, and/or other parties to transactions involving items subject to the EAR in order to verify compliance. In some cases, BIS also may conduct Pre-License Checks, visiting the end-user that will be receiving the specific product or equipment indicated by the U.S. manufacturer in the Export License application.

An EUC is an on-site verification of a party to a transaction to determine whether it is a reliable recipient of U.S. items. EUCs are conducted as part of BIS’s licensing process, as well as its compliance program, to determine if items were exported in accordance with a valid BIS authorization or otherwise consistent with the EAR. Specifically, an EUC verifies the bona fides of recipient(s) of items subject to the EAR, to include confirming their legitimacy and reliability relating to the end use and end user; monitoring their compliance with license conditions; and ensuring such items are used and/or re-exported or transferred (in-country) in accordance with the EAR.

BIS officials rely on EUCs to safeguard items subject to the EAR from diversion to unauthorized end uses/users. The verification of a foreign party’s reliability facilitates future trade, including pursuant to BIS license reviews. If BIS is unable to verify the reliability of the company or is prevented from accomplishing an EUC, the company may receive, for example, more regulatory scrutiny during license reviews or be designated on BIS’s Unverified List or Entity List, as applicable.

BIS has developed a list of “red flags”, or warning signs, intended to discover possible violations of the EAR. Also, BIS has published “Know Your Customer” guidance.

BIS provides a variety of training sessions to U.S. exporters throughout the year. These sessions range from one- to two-day seminars and focus on the basics of exporting, as well as more advanced topics. Check our list of upcoming seminars and webinars. BIS also provides online training.

The EAR does not regulate transactions involving all U.S. goods, services, and technologies. As noted above, other U.S. Government agencies regulate more specialized exports. A list of other agencies involved in export control can be found on the BIS website or in Supplement No. 3 to Part 730 of the EAR.

The EAR is available on the BIS website and on the e-CFR (Electronic Code of Federal Regulations).

The Consolidated Screening List

The Consolidated Screening List (CSL) is a list of parties for which the United States Government maintains restrictions on certain exports, re-exports, or transfers of items. The Consolidated Screening List API is a data service that consolidates 11 export screening lists of the Departments of Commerce, State, and the Treasury into a single data feed as an aid to industry in conducting electronic screens of potential parties to regulated transactions.

Mexico is not subject to any special U.S. export control regulations, and it is designated as a Category I country (the least restrictive) for receipt of U.S. high-technology products.

Other Export Control Regimes

The U.S. Government actively participates in multilateral export control regimes to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the accumulation of conventional weapons. Exporters should be certain of the export control requirements for the country or countries through which their products or services will travel and be used.

The Wassenaar Arrangement is a key multilateral export regime. It came into effect in September 1996 and is the first global multilateral arrangement on conventional weapons exports, dual use goods and technologies, and munitions. The Wassenaar Arrangement promotes transparency and information-sharing to prevent global security risks from trade in these products and technologies. The 42 signatory countries agree to maintain effective exports controls on materials such as certain types of software, industrial metals, chemicals, satellite technologies, surveillance equipment, encryption technologies, sensors, avionics, lasers and components, among many other items. It also determines specific information requirements on arms transfers covered by the U.N. Conventional Arms Registry.

Both Mexico and the United States of America are part of the Wassenaar Arrangement. The complete listing of products covered is available at https://www.wassenaar.org/.

Other multilateral regimes including the Missile Technology Control Regime, Nuclear Suppliers Group, and the Australia Group. The BIS website has more information on these other export control regimes.

The technological advances reached in several industries make the control of certain inputs and final products, which may represent a serious global security risk, more complex. The export control regimes used to manage trade in sensitive products are generally respected throughout the international community. Your company, as a manufacturer of new technologies, needs to be aware of these requirements and must implement ways to protect your technological advantages, avoiding potential misuse in the global marketplace.

If your company is interested in learning more about U.S export licenses, please contact the Trade Specialist in your nearest U.S. Export Assistance Center by checking our website (www.trade.gov/locations).