IMMEX’s Foreign Success Highlights OpportunitiesBy Sofía Hanna | Mon, 01/04/2021 - 16:54
The Manufacturing Industry, Maquiladora and Export Services Program (IMMEX) created in 2006 to strengthen the Mexican export sector's competitiveness has now been implemented in other countries like China, Korea, Japan, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Brazil. However, these countries have taken more advantage of the program in terms of efficiency, highlighting the initiative’s true maximum potential.
According to the Ministry of Economy (SE), IMMEX is "an instrument through which companies are allowed to temporarily import the goods necessary to be used in an industrial or service process intended for the preparation, transformation or repair of merchandise, without covering payment of general import tax, value-added tax and, where appropriate, countervailing duties."
The goods referred to in this program are divided into three categories:
- Raw materials destined for integration to export merchandise,
- Trailer containers and boxes,
- Machinery, equipment, tools, instruments, molds and spare parts for production processes.
Even though this program was destined to attract foreign investment to Mexico, other countries showed interest in its potential. Representatives from said countries came to Mexico to learn more about the program, with the difference being that each country adapted IMMEX as it saw fit.
Luis Aguirre, President of INDEX, told Reforma that what Mexico missed to reach IMMEX’s maximum potential was to develop an industrial policy. Generating said the policy would help to develop Mexican talent more effectively in national companies, generating more entrepreneurs and greater national content. This strategy was effectively implemented by China and Korea. Colombia, on the other hand, prioritized efficiency in procedures, which is also missing in IMMEX as imports are prolonged and require many formalities that hinder any new or current process. Comparing the added value of the companies in China and Mexico, the former being the country considered to have made the most out of the program, Mexico lags behind. Exports through IMMEX in Mexico have a 30 percent added value while those from China reach 80 percent, said Aguirre.
During an MBN interview, Alexis Enciso, CEO of Corporativo Enciso, mentions that modifications made to IMMEX and the way it has worked so far makes it difficult for companies sometimes to bring merchandise to the country. For example, a recent change gives companies less time before they have to send back certain materials. Hence, manufacturing times become critical. Industries like automotive are still working on the transition toward the UMSCA. Hence, companies have to be alert of changes in both fronts while keeping control of their files, inventories and supplies.
At present, IMMEX companies employ almost 3 million workers, which equals 17 percent of the permanent formal jobs registered with IMSS. By the end of 2020, the program represents US$255.6 billion in exports, according to Reforma.