On July 24, 2020, the Mexican government published the First Amendment to the General Rules of Foreign Trade for 2020 in the Official Journal of the Federation (“First Amendment”). The First Amendment makes significant changes to benefits afforded to companies that participate in the Business Certification Program, as well as in the VAT/IEPS and OEA Programs. Several of the benefits eliminated from the VAT/IEPS Certification were included in the OEA Certification.

The following are among the principal changes:

A)       VAT/IEPS Certification

         Elimination of the distinction of benefits among the A, AA and AAA modalities. The same benefits will apply for all modalities.
         Elimination of the reduced time periods of 10, 15 and 20 days for refunds of Value Added Taxes (“VAT”) to certified companies. The generally applicable time period of 40 or more days set forth in the Mexican Federal Tax Code will apply.
         Elimination of the benefit to temporarily import raw materials for up to 36 months. A maximum time period of 18 months will apply.
         Immediate elimination of the benefit of certified companies not being suspended from the Importers Registry when any irregularity set forth in article 1.3.3 of the General Rules of Foreign Trade is detected.
         Elimination of the immediate registration to the Import Standards of Specific Sectors for footwear, textiles, steel and steel products, as well as to the Export Standards Sector of plastics, rubber, wood and paper, glass, iron, steel and aluminum.
         Elimination of the possibility to correct tax filings and payments, and propose an amount of omitted contributions and payments, when irregularities are detected by the company prior to the commencement of verification procedures.
         Elimination of the benefit of not presenting the declaration of value for temporary imports under the IMMEX Program.
         Elimination of the benefit of complying with non-tariff regulations and restrictions within 60 days after the date of notification of the Customs Administrative Procedures initiation act, to replace the precautionary embargo on goods with the guaranties established by the Mexican Federal Tax Code. 
         Elimination of the benefit of not entering merchandise identification data for the manufacture of goods in the electrical and electronic sectors, and for those IMMEX companies operating under the shelter modality with respect to goods in the aeronautical sector.
         The following is eliminated with respect to the AA modality:
o  When irregularities are detected, prior to the initiation of verification procedures, an invitation letter is issued for the correction of the company’s taxes.
o  The possibility to correct customs declarations within three months, without the authorization referred to in rule 6.1.1. of the General Rules of Foreign Trade.
         The following, among other items, are eliminated with respect to the AAA modality:
o  The possibility of operating using V5 customs declarations (transfer to residents in the Mexican territory of temporarily imported goods for final importation).
o  The possibility of presenting monthly consolidated customs declarations.
o  The ease of not registering serial numbers on customs documents.
o  The home export customs office.