The government has implemented a new scheme for certified companies, reflecting consolidated programmes such as the Customs-Trade Partnership against Terrorism in the United States and Canada's Partners in Protection. The scheme aims to facilitate many aspects of customs dispatch and improve competitiveness - many companies with a high volume of foreign trade have already expressed their interest.
During the Senate's last session of 2011 the free trade agreement between Mexico and Peru was approved by a slim majority. The agreement with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua was unanimously approved. Other significant amendments include further changes to the Foreign Trade Rules, export control forms and activities subject to export control permits.
In 2008 Mexico and China reached an agreement to eliminate anti-dumping duties on Chinese goods under 953 tariff headings and establish transitional duties for over 200 tariff categories. As the end of the phase-out approaches, many industrial sectors have demanded strong action against low-price imports from China. The government's next steps will prove crucial.
Until recently, Mexico lacked an export control regime for conventional weapons, dual-use goods and software and technologies that pose a risk of interception. However, a resolution has recently come into force which seeks to prevent the manufacture and proliferation of conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction.
The president has signed the Maquiladora Tax Decree, which provides for an extension of the fixed-rate corporate tax stimulus that was originally scheduled to expire in 2011. The decision is welcome, as the ability to apply the relevant fixed-rate corporate tax benefit in fiscal years 2012 and 2013 provides greater certainty for foreign investors.
Mexico and Colombia announced that they have renegotiated their free trade agreement in light of the withdrawal of Venezuela. The FTA-G3 agreement, which has been in force for the past 15 years, is now known as FTA-G2. Amendments have been published whereby goods imported to and from Mexico and Colombia are deemed exempt from duties, with certain exceptions.
The Fifth Resolution Amendments to Exhibits 10 and 22 of the Foreign Trade Rules affect the logistics scheme that has benefited companies certified under the Promotion of Manufacturing, Maquiladora and Export programmes. Under the amendments, sales are now deemed to occur in Mexico and become subject to value added tax, which must be withheld by the purchaser.
For the first time in the history of the country's trade remedy system, Mexico will investigate whether certain Chinese programmes constitute subsidies and, if so, whether such subsidies are specific. The investigation also raises the issue of whether the World Trade Organisation permits anti-dumping duties and countervailing duties using a methodology based on a price or cost comparison in a surrogate market-economy country.
A call has been published for persons interested in submitting proposals on cooperation within the North American Free Trade Agreement; such proposals should seek to eliminate or reduce unnecessary costs and encourage trade and investment. In addition, the national standardisation programme and a further amendment to the Foreign Trade Rules have been published.
The past few months have seen a number of announcements regarding anti-dumping duties. These included a final determination on the anti-dumping investigation into the importation of seamless steel pipe from China, which established definitive anti-dumping duties for such imports.
After a long public consultation process the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Finance published amendments to the Decree for the Promotion of Manufacturing, Maquiladora and Export (IMMEX), which not only governs the customs aspects of IMMEX companies, but also defines the tax framework for maquila operations.
A resolution amending the export and import quotas for goods and garments that originate from non-North American Free Trade Agreement territories, but which are subject to tariff preferential levels, has been published in the Official Gazette. In addition, a notice terminating the anti-dumping duties on certain products has been published.
A recently published decree has amended the Tariff Schedule of General Import and Export Taxes, the Programme of Sectoral Promotion Decree, the general import taxes applicable to border regions and the northern border and the tariff preferences for certain goods from countries with which Mexico has entered into trade agreements. Other recent changes include new anti-dumping announcements.
Ongoing US non-compliance with transportation obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has prompted the Mexican government to reinforce the suspension of tariff preferences and amend the product list. In addition, changes have been made to the mechanism for accepting the equivalence of another state's technical evaluation procedures under NAFTA in respect of electronic devices.
Two preliminary determinations on anti-dumping measures for steel products will affect imports from China and the United States. In addition, a resolution has amended the classification and codification of animal or vegetable products which are subject to import regulations, while a re-edition of the foreign trade rules will make them easier to use.
Under a proposal to alter the tax treatment of maquila operations, goods furnished by a foreign-resident entity that are imported temporarily would be held to represent a substantial proportion of inputs in the manufacture of a maquila product. The proposal's future is uncertain, but an anti-dumping investigation that includes temporary imports in the dumped imports causing or threatening injury could spell trouble for the sector.
Senators from the Institutional Revolutionary Party have submitted a draft amendment to the Foreign Trade Law that would give the Foreign Trade Commission greater independence and authority. The proposals aim to improve Mexico's regulatory trade framework for foreign trade and would give Congress a more active role in shaping trade policy.
Senators from the Institutional Revolutionary Party have submitted a draft decree to amend the Foreign Trade Law and other legislation. The proposed amendments affect several articles of the law and seek to transform the Foreign Trade Commission into a decentralized, independent public entity with control over its own budget and full technical, operational and organizational autonomy.
A recently published decree amends tax and tariff provisions across a range of laws and instruments, including the Law on General Import Tariffs and Export Taxes, the general import tax regime with the United States and the governing decree for several sector-specific promotion programmes. In addition, amendments to the Foreign Trade Rules include new provisions on suspension from an import registry.
The Ministry of the Economy has ruled that a lower duty derived from the anti-dumping duty review process can be retroactive to the start of the review period, not merely to the publication date of the initial determination. In a separate case, a North American Free Trade Agreement panel has noted the ministry's unprecedented statement of intention to disregard an order to submit its compliance report as requested.