Temporary imports for manufacturing, transformation, and repair under the Maquila and Pitex programs are subject to payment of duties, taxes and compensatory fees. At the end of 2006, the Pitex program was transformed into IMEX (Industria Maquiladora para Exportacion.) Other temporary imports from the United States, however, do not pay import duties, taxes or compensatory fees, but they must comply with all other obligations set forth in Article 104 of the Mexican Customs Law. There are different types of temporary imports into Mexico, including:
a) Temporary imports to be returned in the same condition;
b) Instruments of foreign artists;
c) Temporary imports for cultural and sporting events;
d) Temporary imports for conventions, congresses and trade shows; and
e) Temporary imports for the press, journalism, and cinematography.
The procedures for category (a) are as follows: Category (a) applies to temporary imports that remain in Mexico for a limited time and with a specific purpose and are returned to the U.S. in the same condition and within the time limits established in the Law (Art. 106). Such is the case of demonstration equipment that is temporarily imported into Mexico for exhibitions or sales visits. In such cases, U.S. representatives do not need to contract the services of a Mexican customs broker, and may themselves do the declaration of the products to Mexican Customs, using the declaration lane at the time of entry. Overlooking this requirement may result in the confiscation of the products without possibility of recovery, unless a high penalty fee is paid to the Mexican Government. Temporary imports may remain in Mexico for up to six months.
In the case of medical devices, interested parties need to request an import permit for the specific show. The request needs to be submitted by a Mexican company authorized to sell/distribute medical devices in Mexico.
The import is processed under a temporary importation form and there are basic requirements to obtain the clearance from Customs, including:
1. A list of the products for temporary importation into Mexico;
2. A letter from the U.S. company stating that the product(s) is for temporary entry into Mexico and that it will not be sold;
3. A letter from the Mexican partner or company indicating that they take full responsibility for ensuring that the products are returned to the United States within the period allowed. The letter should also indicate that there is a business relationship between the Mexican party and the importer;
4. Preparation of a Temporary Customs Entry form (Pedimento de Importación Temporal);
5. The list of the products to be temporarily imported into Mexico must also be presented to U.S. Customs before the equipment enters Mexico in order to facilitate the duty free return to the U.S.
For temporary imports related to the manufacture, transformation, or repair under the Maquila and IMEX programs, exporters should obtain expert advice from a Mexican customs broker or other consultant with expertise in this area. More detailed information on this and the other categories of temporary imports may be obtained from the Industry Sector Analysis report, “Customs Procedures for Exporting to Mexico (March 2002)”, or by contacting the U.S. Commercial Service office in Tijuana (see contact list in Chapter 9).