QIMA inspector- customs clearance into Mexico

How to Streamline Imports to Mexico With a Pre-Customs Clearance Inspection (Previo en Origen)

By: QIMA Nov 1, 2023

With a population of over 120 million and a growing economy, Mexico represents an important commercial opportunity for companies around the world.

Indeed, PwC predicts Mexico will be the world’s seventh largest economy by 2050, with the country’s growth exceeding that of both the United States and China. Mexico’s import numbers back these projections – in pre-pandemic 2019, Mexico imported products valued at US$467,342 million, primarily from the US, China and the EU.

However, the Mexican import process is characterized by complexity, delays and peculiarities. In this article we explore the challenges facing importers and how a Pre-Customs Clearance Inspection (Previo en Origen) can streamline the process.

Challenges of importing into Mexico Every shipment of foreign goods arriving at a Mexican port must undergo a ‘goods customs clearance’ – a review of the physical product and accompanying paperwork – as stated in Article 43 of the Ley Aduanera (Customs Law).

Despite being a mandatory requirement, the customs clearance process can cause considerable delays and expense for importers because of three key reasons:

  1. The process is lengthy. Factors such as lack of space in enclosures to easily move products, waiting queues during peak hours when all platforms are in use and prolonged downtime when goods are waiting for the next step all contribute to the pre-clearance and customs clearance process taking days. The process may cause delays that are entirely out of the importer’s control, even if all documentation has been provided correctly.

  2. Importers are unaware of regulations. It’s been noted that many importers, as well as customs agents, lack the necessary knowledge of regulations related to their products and the Mexican import process, therefore causing delays due to incorrect paperwork.

  3. Mexico has complex labelling requirements. As of October 1, 2020, importers must comply with the Official Mexican Standards (NOMs) for their product type. This provides importers with three options for product labelling at either a private address with an accredited Inspection Unit, at an accredited General Warehouse, or at the point of origin – each with their own set of requirements. Failure to comply can lead to additional unnecessary delays.

Taking a proactive approach with a Pre-Customs Clearance Inspection Any customs clearance delays incur expenses since the shipment must be stored under customs control. In extreme cases, the shipment may even be confiscated. Waiting until goods arrive at the Mexican port to carry out the visual and document review therefore exposes importers to greater risk.

A Pre-Customs Clearance Inspection is a proactive step importers can take to pave the way to a smoother customs clearance. A Pre-Customs Clearance Inspection reviews the physical and documentary details of a shipment in the country of origin, prior to shipment. If any issues are found during the Pre-Customs Clearance Inspection they can be resolved before the shipment arrives in Mexico. Typically, a Pre-Customs Clearance Inspection allows a shipment to be released from Mexican customs in 24-48 hours.

How QIMA can help QIMA can provide a comprehensive Pre-Customs Clearance Inspection (Previo en Origen) to help you streamline your imports to Mexico. Our Pre-Customs Clearance Inspection consists of the following steps:

  1. Service request and coordination with the supplier/factory

  2. QIMA's inspector performs the Pre-Customs Clearance Inspection at the origin

  3. Loading and container closure supervision

  4. Preparation and release of cargo reports with customs analysis

  5. Audit of the report with the client and/or customs agent

  6. Arrival of the container, customs agent presents the request, release of the container within 48 hours

We work with leading importers across all product sectors, with 15 years’ experience providing Pre-Customs Clearance Inspections. For information, contact our team here.

For more information on the requirements for importers to Mexico, check out our whitepaper.

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