What is the IMMEX Program? The IMMEX program, officially called the International Maritime Merchandise Export Facilitation Program enables foreign manufacturers to import materials and components from Mexico, duty-free and tax free, upon the agreement that 100% of each finished product will be exported from Tacna, Mexico within a prescribed timeframe. This program benefits both parties: foreign manufacturers can reduce their production costs and gain access to a potentially lucrative foreign market; and Mexican officials can regain lost revenue from currency barriers that have resulted from increased imports of foreign goods. IMMEX provides a forum for talks between participating parties to agree on mutually beneficial terms, which leads to an eventual signing of an applicable agreement.
The IMMEX, which is administered by the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was established in 1993 with the intention of facilitating free trade between Mexico and foreign countries. It has been implemented so successfully that thousands of companies and organisations from around the world have signed on to participate in the programme. One of its main goals is to harmonise the rules applicable in the importing and exporting of goods from Mexico to facilitate free trade in all items between the two countries.
The Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs supervises the implementation of all measures involved in the IMMEX Program and, through the Office of the Superintendent of Internal Revenue (SIC) and the General Customs, it ensures that all procedures involved are in place and comply with Mexican law. The General Customs is in charge of approving the permits needed to send any type of merchandise from Mexico to any other country and SIC is responsible for the collection and processing of these shipments. If a shipment is found to be in contravention of any provision of the decree, the authorities are not required to proceed with the importer’s request to refund duties and taxes paid. The decision is however final and no refunds or compensations will be honoured.
Other measures applied to ensure compliance with IMMEX rules include: mandatory identification of loads; recording and maintaining records of the origin and destination of every load; recording of the quantity and value added tax charged on imported goods; recording and maintaining detailed records of every consignment and information submitted by the importer; recording and maintaining complete descriptions of each consignment and description of the items contained in each load; and requiring all authorized companies may participate in IMMEX. This means that any authorized company may participate in IMMEX without waiting for a permit. The use of IMMEX does not affect the authority of the authorities in any way as they continue to exercise their right to control the imports and exports of goods. However, for a period of five years after IMMEX starts, all permitted persons and all goods may only participate in IMMEX. There is however an exception to this rule if a Mexican air carrier has been authorized to transport petroleum products, gasoline and any dairy products between countries on IMMEX.
Importers and exporters may not import or export machinery, automobiles, electronic or electrical equipment, construction equipment, any explosives, any defense articles for military purposes or any services (including but not limited to financial, legal and technical services). This is because the IMMEX Program does not allow such products to be traded among parties. Some industries that have been directly affected by IMMEX include the petroleum, transportation and energy sectors. In the past, many IMMEX importers did not face the same problems as now. However, ever since IMMEX was implemented, the IMMEX Companies has faced several regulations, fines and restrictions by various government agencies.
The implementation of IMMEX has not only brought about a great rise in Mexico’s gross domestic product, but it also has brought forth a great rise in the duty-free allowances of Mexican imports and exports. The implementation of IMMEX has increased competition among importers in terms of duty-free allowances. Importers from the United States are allowed to purchase products duty free in Mexico. They are also allowed to buy goods duty-free if they can present an IMMEX certification to the Mexican customs. If the importer cannot present such a certification, he will have to pay additional duties to the Mexican customs.