How To Import Merchandise From Mexico

In recent years, the economy of Mexico has taken a significant upward turn, securing a solid place as the 15th largest economy on the planet. 2018 saw the GDP increase to $2.6 trillion, and this is a trend which looks set to continue. 

This new period of affluence in Mexico largely stemmed from the implementation of a number of trade deals, especially with the USA and Canada. Access to a highly skilled workforce, reduced labor costs, and close geographical proximity to the United States have all boosted interest in doing business in Mexico. Also, importing merchandise has never been more appealing.

Why Import Products From Mexico?

So just why are businesses so keen to import merchandise from Mexico? There are a number of advantages to this decision, and we will explore these below.

Reduced Import Duties

Imports from Mexico to the US can enjoy almost zero import duties on the majority of products. Those which do still carry an import duty will benefit from a reduced rate, thereby cutting costs and potentially boosting profit.

Faster Turnaround Time

The close proximity of Mexico to the United States means that the time from completing an order to receiving products is significantly reduced—especially compared to importing from overseas. With tight order deadlines, this is a huge advantage.

Good Communication

The shared time zone between the USA and Mexico means that communication is fast, effective, and efficient; partners can respond quickly to queries or issues. There is also a shared language since there are a high number of bilingual English/Spanish speakers in both Mexico and the US. This is a big advantage over working with countries overseas for which shared language abilities are less common.

Stable Trade Relations

The current stable trade relationship between the US and Mexico is a huge benefit, as it means that there is a reduced chance of sudden, significant changes in laws, tariffs and regulations in the neighboring countries. This can be an issue with other importing partners, such as China. In the past, the trading relationship between these two nations has been fairly tumultuous, and this increases instability.

Positive Customer Reception

The majority of customers in the US react favorably to products manufactured in North America. This is good for neighboring and local economies and can boost the value and appeal of your products and merchandise.

What Do You Need To Import Merchandise From Mexico?

Now that we have established the benefits, it is important to note that there are a number of requirements, including documentation, which need to be met to allow imported goods to enter the United States. There are three main stages:

1. Documentation

There are a number of documents required at the time of entry into the country:

  • Entry manifest
  • Commercial invoice
  • Packing list
  • Bill of lading


    2. Examination

Imports from Mexico will be closely examined, with special consideration given to the following aspects of the shipment:

  • Value of the goods
  • Any labeling requirements for the goods, and whether these have been met
  • Whether any prohibited items are present
  • Whether goods have been invoiced correctly and if the actual quantity matches the invoiced quantity

If there are any suspicions that the goods to be imported violate regulations, a more comprehensive examination will take place.

3. Classification and Appraisal

Before goods have a chance to reach the point of entry, they will be classified. This is carried out by customs brokers or by the commercial importer, who will be checking that the goods are labeled correctly. 

Errors at this stage could result in rules being broken and incorrect duties being charged. The final amounts owed are established at this stage.

Are There Any Restrictions?

It should be noted that the US places restrictions on specific items being brought into the country and that some goods may have to meet regulations by a Partner Government Agency (PGA) or other agency, in order to be accepted. 

If your product is regulated by the latter, you may have additional restrictions. Items such as arms and ammunition, drugs and cosmetics, food, and agricultural products are all subject to restrictions and regulations. 

It’s a good idea to make sure that you have a solid understanding of the types of restrictions and issues your products may face before you make the decision to import from Mexico into the United States. 

This knowledge should ensure that your business is legal, profitable, and able to trade and thrive without limitations, fees, or fines—costs that have the potential to be prohibitive.

In spite of all the benefits, there are some risks of doing business in Mexico that can’t be ignored. If you have any concerns about maquiladoras, for example, or any other aspect of locating some part of your business in Mexico, be sure to read the articles on these specific topics.


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