Written by: Nancy Torres, GTM Governance Latin America
Countries around the world are making efforts to promote the implementation of safety standards for their import and export operations and Mexico is not an exception. Mexico has adopted and implemented an Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program, as part of its commitment to the World Trade Organization (WTO) SAFE framework model. To address the statements of the framework, Mexico has put into action a new certification procedure initially called NEEC (New Scheme of Certified Companies) – the Authorized Economic Operation for Mexico.
The NEEC Certification aims to strengthen security on the supply chain through implementing internationally recognized safety standards and bringing benefits to subscribers. It’s mainly focused on export operations and certification is available to manufacturers, traders, carriers and brokers.
In order to be eligible for NEEC Certification, companies must: provide evidence of a clean record regarding their tax obligations, be in operation for at least three years before applying for the certification, provide proof that they maintain a transparent customs operation.
Additionally, applicants must demonstrate they can effectively implement the following safety standards:
- Physical safety on site.
- Access control on site.
- Verifiable procedures to select and hire commercial partners who must also implement the minimum safety requirements stated by NEEC Certification.
- Safety on cargo vehicles, containers and all transportation units used.
- Personnel safety and training.
- Information safety controls.
The companies that obtain this certification have access to a total of 46 benefits, which include:
- Exclusive lanes at Customs.
- Expedited clearance processes.
- Facilitation of administrative procedures.
- Mutual recognition with other countries.
The SAFE Framework states that countries should work together in order to create a more efficient Customs policy and eliminate unnecessary regulations, plus avoid discriminatory and protectionist practices. This can only be achieved through mutual recognition between Mexican Customs and Customs authorities in other countries, as well as Mexican Customs with companies doing business in Mexico.
Mexico has reached an agreement with the U.S., to mutually recognize NEEC Certification and C-TPAT programs and with South Korea, by recognizing their AEO programs. There are also eight Mutual Recognition Agreements signed between companies and public agencies and published by the Secretariat of Economy in Mexico.
Mexico’s achievements on the adoption of the SAFE Framework seem to be encouraging the participation of more companies. The more solid the procedures, the more attention they receive from other countries; therefore, Mexico appears to be on the right path to make its customs operation much more secure to strengthen a trust relationship with all parties involved with customs transactions.