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Mexico’s maquiladoras push for changes to new tax plan

By: Stephen Downer

November 11, 2013

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s maquiladora industry says it will press for amendments to a far reaching tax law approved by senators in late October two weeks after its successful passage through the lower house of Congress.

The so-called Reforma Hacendaria is scheduled to take effect in January, although it has yet to be signed into law by President Enrique Peña Nieto. In its current form it will remove the generous tax exemptions that have benefited the maquiladora industry since its inception in 1965.

The National Council of the Maquiladora & Export Manufacturing Industry, which represents 20 maquiladora associations across Mexico, said in a Nov. 4 statement that Peña Nieto can soften the law’s impact if he wishes.

“The president of the republic has the power to retain the income tax and value added tax exemptions for the maquiladora export industry,” it said.

It also argued that the fiscal measures affecting the sector’s 5,111 companies and 2 million-plus employees were inadequately debated by legislators over 54 days.

“Having to tell multinational corporations that the programs for attracting foreign investment have been modified and restrictive criteria that do not favor our country as a safe foreign trade destination introduced will have negative repercussions on Mexico’s international image,” it said.

In the maquiladora council's economic report for September, Council General Manager Carlos Palencia wrote that, under the new law, the sector will be required to pay $25 billion in value-added tax for temporarily importing raw materials and machinery.

In 2012, maquiladora program companies imported supplies and machinery valued at $156.3 billion, according to government statistics.