MEXICO: New Rules For Maquiladora Programme
The Mexican government has announced tariff changes for its Maquiladora Programme to remove contradictions with related provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The new rules will take effect on 1 January 2001. Maquiladoras will no longer be accorded tariff exemption on their raw materials and machinery imported from outside NAFTA, if the finished goods are to be sold within the NAFTA region (the US, Canada, and Mexico). The Mexican government, however, will launch a sectoral promotion programme, effective 20 November 2000, to assist maquiladoras in their procurement of essential parts and machinery from outside NAFTA. This programme will allow maquiladoras of selected industries to import raw materials and machinery at reduced tariff rates ranging from zero to 25 per cent. Twenty industries have been grouped under this programme, including textile and apparel; footwear; electrical items; electronics; furniture; toys; sporting goods; photographic products; leather; and autoparts.Debuted in 1965, the maquiladora programme allows companies to import duty-free raw materials and machinery needed for the assembly and production of finished goods for exportation. There were more than 4,700 maquiladoras as of June 2000 and collectively they contributed to almost half of Mexico's total exports of $137bn in 1999.
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