Today, this task also includes protecting against threats throughout the international supply chain and providing customs authorities with the tools to allow more assertive and efficient tax collection.
Due to the rapid development of global trade, security threats have increased in recent years. This situation forced the World Customs Organization (WCO) to focus more on the scrutiny of the international flow of trade by creating the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) model. This model has raised standards and provides certainty to global trade organizations around the world.
The AEO is based on the WCO Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade (SAFE), the main purpose of which is to facilitate trade by securing the supply chain through the standardization of best practices.
As many of its commercial partners have developed its own version of the AEO (for instance, the Customs-Trade Partnership against Terrorism (C-TPAT) developed by the US government), Mexico did not want to be left behind. Therefore, the federal government developed a program based on the AEO model.
This model is known as the New Scheme of Certified Company (its acronym in Spanish is NEEC), which has a main purpose of easing the trade of merchandise, encouraging economic development and increasing the competitiveness of Mexico.
The Mexican Tax Administration (SAT) is responsible for the operation and control of the program, according to the applicable customs regulations. This scheme was included under the umbrella of the well-known certified company program, with more requisites to comply with but also with more benefits, both focused on security standards.
The next step is for the NEEC is to be recognized by the WCO and other countries in the scheme of Mutual Recognition to coordinate guidelines and standards from similar programs.
Many countries and trade areas have started their negotiations about mutual recognition. In January, Mexico and the US started working on the mutual recognition between the NEEC and C-TPAT. The recognition plan will be implemented in a 2-year period which should allow companies to be acknowledged during the certification process for both programs. Once the recognition is approved, the user of one program is recognized by the other.
The legal frameworks of NEEC and C-TPAT mutual recognition programs will be identified as equal by the customs authorities of both countries.
The cooperation between countries has become relevant to the economic development. Thanks to mutual recognition, the companies located on both sides of the border will enjoy more logistical and economic benefits, as well as a reliable supply chain.
In the next 2 years, once the mutual recognition is completed between Mexico and the US, the companies that have any of the certification granted, either NEEC or C-TPAT, will be recognized as participants of the other country’s program.
Both countries provide the opportunity to increase their competitiveness and will allow a better positioning of companies in both countries.