On May 9, 2022, Mexico’s Department of Economy published a Decree as to General International Trade Rules and Criteria in the Official Journal of the Federation, which entered into force on the same date of publication.
The following provisions are worth noting from the new General International Trade Rules and Criteria (hereinafter referred to as “the Rules”).
A) General definitions and filings
The Rules update certain definitions, add new ones and clarify items regarding various matters that were poorly or confusedly regulated under the prior rules.
Among the new definitions worth mentioning, “agreement as to administrative facilities” is included, which refers to a publication in the Official Journal of the Federation on August 4, 2021, which allows parties to carry out filings by electronic means regarding several procedures before the Department of Economy.
Likewise, the Decree clarifies that for purposes of the Rules, the term “certified companies” is understood exclusively as companies with a VAT Certification.
The Rules set forth that, when so required for certain filing procedures, the domiciles of the interested parties may be evidenced only by providing one of the following documents: i) property tax, electricity, landline or water bill, issued within the last three months; ii) bank statements, issued within the last three months; iii) lease or sublease agreement with the latest payment receipt for the immediately preceding month; iv) payroll tax payment receipts; or v) domicile certification issued by the corresponding Municipality, issued within the last three months.
As to the official identifications accepted for trade procedures carried out before the Department of Economy, the Rules include only: voter’s identity card, passport or professional license.
Regarding general filings that must be carried out through the Virtual Filing Office, the Rules establish that interested parties must file a notice appointing two contacts with name and e-mails, and expressly authorizing them to receive information and notices through such e-mail addresses.
Finally, the Rules set forth specific terms for each of the filings available, and state that such terms may be increased as long as there is justified cause, supported and evidenced by the competent authority.
B) IMMEX program
Statement of facts. The information that must be included in a written statement of facts is included, such as: a) location of the domicile(s) where the manufacture or services are performed, including characteristics, conditions, details of the facility, area in square meters with photographic evidence; and b) inventory of the machinery, equipment and furniture, and documents supporting the certified legal possession of such assets, including photographic evidence.
Likewise, the Decree provides that the statement of facts may not be older than three months and may be issued only by a public mercantile processor authorized by the Department of Economy. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Decree’s transitional articles state that any statements of facts filed within the six months following the entry into force of the Rules will be considered as valid, even if such is issued by a notary public; after such term, only those issued by public mercantile processors will be accepted.
Inspection visits. As an alternative to filing a statement of facts when so required, a written request may be made, so that authorized personnel, including among others, public officials of entities of the Public Administration (federal or local) with collaboration agreements in place, may perform inspection visits at the domicile(s) of the interested party.
Favorable opinion of the tax authorities. The Rules detail that for purposes of being approved with a new IMMEX program, a favorable opinion from the Tax Administration Service (SAT), will exist when the following requirements, among others, are met: being active in the Federal Taxpayers Registry (“RFC”); having a recent positive tax compliance opinion; having domiciles recorded and active with the RFC, etc.
Delimitation and independence of IMMEX areas. The Rules adopt the criteria of delimitation and independence for those cases in which there are two or more companies with an IMMEX program within the same property, which were previously published through official letter number 414.2020.2288, during the second half of 2020.
Certified Company notices. Certified companies maintain the exemption from having to amend their IMMEX programs to incorporate new tariff codes for raw materials to be temporarily imported or for final product for exportation. However, there is a new obligation to provide notice to the Department of Economy when such is the case, in order to maintain the information with such agency up to date.
New domiciles. The requirement to file a statement of facts to register a new domicile is eliminated; instead, companies must file a notice complying with certain requirements.
Amendment to services IMMEX program. The Rules include a formal procedure to request the amendment of activities to be provided for an IMMEX program under the services modality, with one of the requirements being the filing of a statement of facts.
Amendment of IMMEX program for sensitive materials. The requirement to ratify a public accountant’s report is eliminated for the increase of sensitive materials; for the authorization of any subsequent amendments, the exportation of 100% of those materials imported needs to be shown, instead of the 70% requirement per the former international trade rules.
Amendments to information. Any changes to the information originally reported to obtain the IMMEX program, such as name, RFC, members or shareholders, legal representative and tax domicile, and mergers and spinoffs must be reported within 10 days following the occurrence of such change.