What You Need to Know About Importing Goods From Mexico

flag of America and Mexico with postal packages logistic center 3d-illustration

flag of America and Mexico with postal packages logistic center 3d-illustration

Mexico is one of the United States’ biggest trading partners. Every day, there are about $1.7 billion in products and services crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. The relationship between the two nations cannot be emphasized enough, and it’s why trading agreements such as NAFTA and the most-recently-negotiated USMCA (United States Mexico Canada Agreement) made top news and ruffled political feathers when it was threatened. As these trade agreements were negotiated, the importance of the Mexican market was once again highlighted here at home. 

The importing process, of course, is another matter altogether, and one that requires a hefty amount of paperwork, understanding of laws and regulations, and customs clearance processes. 

Here’s what you need to know about importing goods from Mexico. 

If you’re looking for a customs broker in El Paso to help you import goods from Mexico, the Cordova Brokerage team is there to help. Headquartered in El Paso, Texas, we know the border regulations inside and out!

Importing Goods from Mexico 

Mexico is the second-largest supplier of goods for the United States. According to the most recent data, Mexico’s trade accounted for about 671.1 billion in 2018, which tallied up to more than the total trade with our northern neighbor Canada. The biggest categories of goods coming in through our Southern border include:

  • Vehicles
  • Electrical machinery 
  • Agricultural products
  • Mineral fuels
  • Optical and medical equipment 

What You Need to Consider When Importing Goods 

When talking about international trade—imports or exports—companies and businesses should note that every country is different. A lot of factors play when looking at important goods in the United States, all of which should be understood to avoid setbacks or loss of revenue. 

Factors to consider are:

  • Regulations of what you can and cannot import into the United States 
  • Tariffs on goods and where you import them from 
  • The time and the cost of transportation 
  • Other regulatory hoops 

Key Facts About Importing Goods from Mexico 

Many importers like working with Mexico as a country of origin for their goods because of the friendly relations and trade agreements between the two nations. Some of the benefits of importing from Mexico include:

  • Reduced or waived import duties. Consider import duties as an additional tax that a company must pay to customs authorities as a rate in addition to any goods coming in from other countries. Authorities calculate this duty with a percentage of the total value of the goods or the weight of the goods. Imports from Mexico, by contrast, do not have import duties.  
  • Faster turnarounds. The proximity of Mexico to the United States reduces the turnaround time. Overseas imports, for example, have to account for a long transportation time from the moment the order is put in when it arrives in U.S. ports. The reduction in transport time can translate to more efficient orders and a major benefit to those working under fast fulfillment timelines, dealing with supply chain issues, etc.  
  • Expedited communication. When working with international partners and companies, communication is key to ensuring the smooth flow of goods and payments. Because of Mexico’s geographical proximity, the time zones are very much lined up. The fact that Mexico and the United States share time zones make communication back and forth easier and more reliable.  
  • Decreased transportation costs. The geographical location of Mexico just south of the border also reduces the physical distance that goods need to travel. By having imported goods travel a shorter distance, costs associated with transportation are significantly reduced.  
  • Stable national relations. Mexico and the United States have amicable and working political and social relations, as well as trade relations. When countries have volatile relations, it can make the market less stable and subject to new tariffs, taxes, or stringent regulations. 

Other Things to Note

Despite the stable relations between the two countries, there is still a long list of rules and government regulations that companies must follow when importing goods from Mexico. For example:

  • The most commonly used import document from Mexico is the Customs Declaration Form for customs clearance. Mexico requires this completed document to be accompanied by a commercial invoice, a bill of lading, payment documentation, and more. 
  • All Mexican importers are required to register with the Official Register of importers. 
  • If you are exporting to Mexico, it’s worthy to note that Mexican customs regulations are strict and require absolute compliance. 
  • Products that qualify under the USMCA agreement will typically require a set of nine data elements in order to pass through as USMCA authorized products. 

Thinking of Importing Goods from Mexico, Find a Trusted Customs Broker to Guide You 

The job of a customs broker is to help clients move through the customs process effectively and in full compliance. Whether you are importing from Mexico or another country, the rules and regulations might differ, and understanding of paperwork and required documentation your goods can arrive on time and without added fees or penalties. 

Want to learn more about how to effectively import goods from Mexico? Contact Cordova Brokerage for expert guidance and advice. 

The Origins of Trade & How to Get Started in the International Markets

a handshake superimposed over a cityscape at sunsetAs old as silk; as common as tea; as valuable as spices. The history of trade can be traced back for thousands of years. It’s almost something human beings are naturally inclined to do and a mutual agreement that is found in all civilizations. And, in fact, it was silk, tea, and spices that were the major trade items that sparked what would later be known as ‘international’ trade. Today, the biggest trading markets include the European Union, the United States, and China. Cordova Brokerage helps businesses dive into the world of international trade by helping companies establish secure and legal pathways for exporting and importing their goods. The trade industry, while lucrative, is composed of plenty of regulations and rules that can be difficult to navigate without the right level of experience.

The Early Days of Trading — A Human Impulse to Share Goods and Services

The early days of trading, however, involved domesticated animals like camels, carrying goods across lands. Fast forward to the Middle Ages, and you have the famous Silk Road. The Silk Road, of course, refers to the ancient network of trade routes that were established during the Han Dynasty of China. The famous Marco Polo traveled on these routes. And some of the most common goods that traveled from East to West and West to East included silk, tea, dyes, horses, saddles, honey, fruit, and more. 

Trade was then continued and advanced thanks to the forming of new countries and the establishment of routes, as well as the invention of ships, trains, buses,  and airplanes. In 1946, the Bretton Woods system goes into effect; it had been planned since 1944. It was designed to prevent further world conflicts and depressions. In 1947, 23 countries to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. This rationalizes and improves trade among nations.  In the ’90s the European Union formed and centralized their trading power. Only a few years later, in 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) goes into effect as well. This trade deal changes the nature of trade between the North American countries and really impacts the border region when it comes to jobs, trade across the border, and more. 

The Importance of NAFTA — How It Reshaped North America’s Economic Ties

You will often hear arguments about the impacts of NAFTA. Depending on who you ask and when you ask it, but one thing that is undeniable is the fact that NAFTA did have a big impact on how the three neighbors do business. It also facilitated trade, so it made it easier for goods and services to flow back and forth. It fundamentally reshaped the economic relations between the three countries and drove regional trade to triple as well as cross-border investment. 

As a brokerage company located on the border, we know the impact of the deal. We also know that the implementation of the renegotiated NAFTA—called the USMCA— will have its own impact as well. We wrote a little bit about that in a recent blog

Trading in the Modern Day 

Today, trade works very differently than it did on the Silk Road, although the idea is the same. A powerful country will want a strong trade agreement that allows them to bargain and bring terms to the table. 

How To Prepare Your Product for Import and Export 

Here at Cordova Brokerage, we specialize in taking products to market in international markets. Whether it’s your first time, or you have been doing it for many years, the prospect of putting your products onto the world stage can be pretty exciting. Here’s a couple of things to consider right off the bat:

  • The name of your product. 
  • Packaging and labeling design. 
  • The size and quantity of your product

There is about $1. 2 trillion dollars worth of goods in the importing industry and about $772 billion in merchandise every year in exports that go to over 150 countries.  Every product you can think of is fair game to the global market. It’s why, if you have a successful business and a thriving product, trying your hand at the global market might be a good opportunity for you. 

The Possibilities that Lay at Trade’s Door 

Imports are important to all countries because no matter where you are there is something that cannot be produced or grown in your area. So importing comes down to three main things: 

Availability: There are some things that simply won’t be available naturally in certain areas.

Cachet: Some products develop value by the fact that they are imported from somewhere else.

Price: Some products are simply cheaper when they are brought in from another country, as opposed to producing locally. 

Every business needs its customers and finding your target audience and customer base is the next big step when embarking in international trade. Any manufacturer, supplier, crafter, or retailer is a good place to start or explore. You also want to consider the start-up costs and marketing costs in order to hone in on a specific audience more successfully. 

We Take Care of the Shipment, Forwarding, and Warehousing

Taking your business onto the modern Silk Road can bring lucrative opportunities for you and your company. For many, it opens up doors and increases investment and customer base. At the same time, the rules and regulations surrounding the transfer and shipment of goods and services across borders can get a little complicated and that’s why we are here. Here at Cordova Brokerage, we specialize in the movement of those goods, the paperwork, the storage, and freight forwarding, in order to protect your investment.