Mexico Increases Its Verification of NAFTA-Origin Claims
Sufficient press has focused on the scrutiny by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) of NAFTA-origin claims of goods imported from Mexico. However, Mexico, in turn, has been increasing its own scrutiny and verification of NAFTA-claimed merchandise imported into Mexico. The Servicio de Administración Tributaria (“SAT”) is the Mexican governmental agency that initiates and carries out verifications to determine whether or not goods imported into Mexican territory qualify as NAFTA-originating.
Most of the verifications of NAFTA claims by SAT have been conducted through written questionnaires to the exporter or producer of the goods in the U.S. or Canada. The responses to these questionnaires are used to determine whether the NAFTA claim should be allowed. Questionnaires issued to the U.S. or Canadian exporters have substantially increased since 2008. Some of the verifications have been done by actual visits to the exporters’ physical facilities.
The majority of verification questionnaires and visits were directed to producers in the U.S. since most NAFTA claims originate from goods produced in the U.S., as opposed to Canada. SAT has especially focused on steel, electronics, footwear and textiles.
If U.S. exporters or producers receive a questionnaire from SAT, it is important that the responses be complete and timely filed. When the responses are untimely or incomplete, the resolution of the issues often ends up in Mexican tax courts.
U.S. and Canadian exporters and producers who export to Mexico and claim NAFTA eligibility should maintain complete records to substantiate their NAFTA claim. Further, this information should be readily available in the event that a questionnaire is received from SAT.
If you have any questions about this or other customs issues, please contact Steve Spraitzar at firstname.lastname@example.org, (415) 288‑0427, or George Tuttle at email@example.com, (415) 288-0425.
Stephen Spraitzar and George Tuttle are attorneys with the Law Offices of George R. Tuttle in San Francisco.
The information in this article is general in nature, and is not intended to constitute legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship with respect to any event or occurrence, and may not be considered as such.
Copyright © 2012 by Tuttle Law Offices.
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