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A Regulatory Checklist for US-Mexico Cross-Border Logistics

By Carlos Godinez - Transplace
Vice President of Sales and Marketing


By Carlos Godinez | Vice President of Sales and Marketing - Mon, 12/20/2021 - 10:03

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There’s no questioning the significance of Mexico’s trade position with the US. According to the US Census Bureau, Mexico was the country’s top trading partner in 2021, underscoring the importance of streamlining the transportation of products between the two countries.

To be successful, cross-border logistics professionals must have intimate knowledge of the security challenges, economic environment, and regulatory issues in both countries. Most important, however, is keeping up to date on US and Mexican customs regulations. What makes this challenging is that customs regulations are ever-changing with little, if any, time for shippers to prepare. International shippers must constantly monitor customs regulations to maintain compliance of trade laws for importing and exporting products.

To help shippers navigate, we’ve compiled a checklist of the latest US-Mexico cross-border regulatory updates that have been implemented or will go live soon.

  • US Goods Returned

US Customs will now require a Manufacturers Affidavit and Importers Declaration of Goods for goods returned under US HTS Code 9801.00.10.

Participating Government Agencies (PGA): APHIS (Animal, Plant, Health, Inspection Services/U.S. Department of Agriculture) will now require the PGA data to include the genus, species, and subspecies data elements. Trade should expect a reject in the entry transmission if invalid data is submitted in those fields. 

What this means: As of Dec. 11, 2021, if your genus, species, and subspecies is not correct, you will not be able to get the entry data approved for customs clearance. The result will be customs clearance delays and possible delay charges issued by carriers.

  • Mexican Technology Integration Project (PITA)

To promote international trade, the Mexican customs infrastructure is being strengthened to increase the speed, efficiency, and security of all goods exchanged within Mexican customs.

The Mexican Technology Integration Project (PITA) will streamline customs processes and modernize 60 points of review for the clearance of freight goods passing through Mexican borders. In addition, PITA will include 52 checkpoints for control of passenger vehicles at border crossings and 310 video surveillance monitoring points with national coverage in the Mexico Tax Administration Service (SAT) offices. This automation includes the reduction of customs clearance times, improved business intelligence, and greater confidence in risk identification.

PITA expects to automate the Mexican customs operation within four years. According to ANIERM, Mexico’s national importers and exporters association, this investment will reduce the time that merchants wait in customs by over 50 percent.

What this means: PITA customs clearance requires eight steps that must be met:

  1. Customs broker – Captures data in MATCE (Models of Tax Administration of Foreign Trade).
  2. Customs broker – DODA (Document of Operation for Customs Clearance)/PITA operation is generated.
  3. User – Make selection in ACTIVE NI.
  4. Vehicle – Represented by the MSA (Master Service Agreement) module.
  5. PITA – Read the badge and the MSA is activated, show the results on the PITA screen, open the lock.
  6. Vehicle – In case of free customs clearance or conclusion of customs recognition, it is presented in the exit lane.
  7. PITA – Read the badge, check that you have an electronic file that was generated at the entrance and ask MATCE (Models of Tax Administration of Foreign Trade) for compliance with formalities.
  8. PITA – Depending on the result, open the lock and display the information on the lane displays.
  • Nuevo Laredo Customs Implementation

The technological components that are installed on the lanes and in the monitoring center automate customs clearance using radio frequency technology (RFID), with the unique badge granted by the VUCEM.

  • No paperwork is required to activate the MSA (Master Service Agreement).
  • Reduces dwell times at customs.
  • Uses informative displays and sensors.
  • Platform assignment in case of recognition.

What this means: Mexican importers need to make sure their transfer partners/carriers and their drivers comply with this new regulation, assuring their drivers have a valid PITA badge. Delays will happen if the driver is not compliant.

  • New Mexico Complemento Carta Porte(Bill of Lading)*

The Mexican Tax Authority (SAT) has approved the Complemento Carta Porte or consignment note accompanying the CFDI (Comprobante Fiscal Digital por Internet) to transfer merchandise. The new regulation will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

The new complement will affect all taxpayers transporting goods and merchandise in Mexican territory by land, sea, air, train, or federal highways. The SAT has communicated that no matter who issues the “Carta Porte,” all subjects that take part in the transfer of goods will be responsible for the correct reporting of information.

Taxpayers must incorporate the CFDI transfer, the CFDI income, and the Complemento Carta de Porte to verify the legal possession of the merchandise.

The SAT looks to improve customs and tax controls and improve the secure transfer of merchandise to fight against contraband.

The information in the Carta Porte must be declared on the subjects that intervene in transporting the merchandise, the transport medium and CFDI declared.

What this means: It is strongly recommended that US exporters/importers contact their Mexican clients, vendors and partners to be aware of the legal, tax, and customs implications of this update. Failure to comply with issuing the new CFDI/Complemento Carta Porte with the bill of lading information will trigger fines and create delays at shipper/receiver docks as loads will not be able to depart Mexican facilities if the CFDI/Complemento Carta Porte has not been processed.

*Please note: This information is based on a public statement issued by the Mexican Tax Authority (SAT) and may be subject to change.

With continuously evolving customs regulations, the role of the customs broker is even more important. In Mexico, the majority of foreign trade transactions (more than 90 percent) are facilitated by customs brokers. A primary role of the customs broker is to support their shipping customers in maintaining compliance of ever-changing international trade laws.

The customs broker also performs many international trade functions, including the transportation, cross-docking, distribution and storage of goods, third-party logistics, loading and unloading, drayage, paying tolls, purchasing insurance and required bonds, collecting taxes on behalf of the federal government, and addressing matters of national security.

In addition to working with a customs broker, international shippers can use this checklist to maintain compliance with current trade laws, keep their shipments moving, and contribute to a more efficient supply chain.



  1. How has Mexico Customs Been Modernised?” BizLatinHub


Photo by:   Carlos Godinez

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