International Trade and Customs

With almost 50 years of experience in international trade and customs, VTZ Law Firm has seen an endless number of cases, from the most traditional to the most particular, of various industries.

Our Experience in Industries


Auto parts


Oil & Gas


Consumer Goods


Food and Beverages

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Specialized Lawyers in International Trade and Customs in Mexico

At VTZ, we have a team of lawyers and professionals throughout Mexico that focus exclusively on international trade and customs law. Our members advise about compliance with customs obligations, the IMMEX program, trade remedies (antidumping and countervailing duties), free trade agreements, export controls, dispute resolution, and more.

How can we help in International Trade and Customs?

With our advice, our experts will be able to identify, prevent and reduce tax-customs risks, as well as optimize commercial operations.

Our customs team can assess the correct tariff classification of a good and, thus, identifying the applicable tariffs and trade barriers in Mexico. VTZ works jointly with the relevant customs broker in order to provide tariff classification for goods that are difficult to classify. Whenever necessary, we request advance rulings from the relevant customs authorities.

The customs valuation of goods is an essential aspect to ensure the compliance and stability of a company’s commercial operations. Hence, companies must declare the adequate customs value of goods before customs authorities. VTZ offers a service that involves analysis and advice to calculate the respective General Import Tax (IGI) under an adequate customs valuation, including aspects related to transfer pricing.

If you need to identify and comply with tariff and non-tariff barriers to import or export goods, such as previous permits, automatic notices, licenses, operating notices, Official Mexican Standards (NOMS), we can help.

Besides identifying tariffs and non-tariff barriers applicable to a good, we provide assistance to request the creation, modification, or elimination of Mexican tariff items (HTSMX) as well as customs duties (IGI, in Spanish) before the Ministry of Economy. Likewise, we can also request the inclusion of tariff items within international trade promotion programs. 

Our international trade team advises or has advised companies to obtain, for example, the following:

  • Import Quotas for children’s products;
  • Compliance with CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora);
  • Environmental Permits (Basel Convention on the control of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes);
  • Automatic Notices for Steel products;
  • Operation Notices (Health matters subject to COFEPRIS);
  • Food Labeling NOM-051.

We carry out economic and statistical analysis studies that serve for business development purposes as well as for procedures carried out by the Mexican Government. Our reports assess the following matters:

  • duties and international trade statistics;
  • determine injury to a specific productive sector for trade remedy purposes;
  • reports for industries during free trade agreements negotiations;
  • market access;
  • importers and their competitors, their imports.

Specialized International Trade and Customs Services

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Free Trade Agreements and Rules of Origin

Mexico has 13 free trade agreements (FTAs) and 9 trade agreements with 50 countries. In this sense, VTZ advises companies to determine if their goods comply with the rules of origin provided in the FTAs, such as the USMCA (formerly NAFTA), CPTPP, Pacific Alliance, EU-MEX- FTA, among others.

Origin Verification Procedures

If an origin verification procedure is initiated in accordance with an FTA, our international trade and customs team has the experience to advise, support, and defend companies before Mexican customs authority initiates.

Our services

With our advice or representation, companies will be able to:

  • Benefit from tariff preferences and, where appropriate, a reduced Customs Processing Fee (DTA, acronym in Spanish);
  • Continuous compliance with rules of origin;
  • Propose modifications to the FTA’s rules of origin before the Ministry of Economy;
  • Obtain export or import quotas provided for in FTAs, including “short supply”;
  • Correct the legal situation of international trade obligations;
  • Allow responding in a timely manner to any Origin Verification Procedures.
  • Identify and use trade facilitation measures.

International Trade Compliance and Preventive Customs Audits

Compliance with international trade and customs obligations is not only essential for the clearance of goods at customs, but it is also key to avoid, for example, post-customs clearance complications or even the suspension of the importers’ registry.

In this sense, compliance and preventive audits are a vital strategy to detect and correct errors in a timely manner, avoiding possible tax liabilities or as part of a due diligence process prior to a merger, acquisition, or spin-off.

Our customs audits are carried out in strict adherence to audit rules and processes in order to verify full compliance with the legal, tax, and customs provisions that are applicable to your commercial operations.

The benefits

With our advice, companies will be able to assess:

  • Compliance with International Trade and Customs obligations, prior and post-customs clearance;
  • Possible Tax-Customs Contingencies, including Import Duties, VAT, IEPS, and Customs Processing Fees.
  • Records of International Trade and Legal Stay of Goods;
  • Powers of Customs Brokers;
  • Optimize Operation and Logistics;
  • Supply Chain Policies;
  • Purchase and sale contracts;
  • Intellectual Property aspects;
  • Other regulatory aspects related to International Trade and Customs.

Customs Authority’s International Trade Audits and Verification Procedures

When the customs authority (SAT, acronym in Spanish) initiates audit procedures to review compliance with a company’s customs obligations, VTZ’s international trade and litigation teams work in coordination to develop a legal strategy.

Legal defense in international trade and customs matters can range from attending and advising companies during verification visits to signing agreements with SAT and the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman (PRODECON). Our goal is always to reduce tax liabilities and efficiently combat acts of authority with the legal tools and remedies that are at your disposal.

If necessary and convenient for the client, VTZ can challenge the acts or decisions of the customs authority through constitutional remedies (known as Amparo) or a “nullity” lawsuit before the competent courts, and even request (if appropriate) an injunction to suspend the legal effects of the challenged acts or decisions.

Trade Remedies

Our trade remedy team is ready to represent companies in antidumping investigations or related procedures (i.e. annual reviews, sunset reviews, circumvention of antidumping duties, new exporter) that are carried out before the International Trade Practices Unit (UPCI, acronym in Spanish) of the Ministry of Economy.

With more than 100 anti-dumping investigations in our records, VTZ has successfully advised and defended Mexican producers, importers, and foreign companies of all kinds of investigated goods. Check our list of most recent cases: VTZ – Antidumping Cases.


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Tratados de Libre Comercio y Reglas de Origen

México tiene 13 tratados de libre comercio (TLCs) y 9 acuerdos comerciales con 50 países. En ese sentido, VTZ asesora empresas para determinar si las mercancías que exportan o importan cumplen con las reglas de origen previstas en los TLC, como el T-MEC (antes TLCAN), TIPAT (o CPTPP), Alianza del Pacífico, TLCUEM, entre otros.

Procedimientos de Verificación de Origen

Si la autoridad aduanera inicia un procedimiento de verificación de origen de conformidad con un TLC, nuestro equipo de comercio exterior y aduanas tiene la experiencia para asesorar, apoyar y defender a las empresas ante el SAT. 

Nuestros Servicios

Con nuestra asesoría o representación, empresas podrán:

  • Beneficiarse de preferencias arancelarias y, en su caso, reducción de DTA;
  • Dar cumplimiento continuo con las reglas de origen;
  • Proponer modificaciones a reglas de origen de un TLC ante la Secretaría de Economía;
  • Obtener cupos de exportación o importación previstos en TLCs, incluso “short supply” ;
  • Corregir la situación de cumplimiento de obligaciones de comercio exterior;
  • Defenderse oportunamente en los Procedimientos de Verificación Origen.
  • Utilizar instrumentos en materia de facilitación comercial.

Compliance en Comercio Exterior y las Auditorías Aduaneras Preventivas

El cumplimiento de obligaciones de comercio exterior y aduaneras no solamente es esencial para el despacho de las mercancías en la aduana, también lo es para evitar, por ejemplo, complicaciones post-despacho o incluso la suspensión del padrón de importadores.


En ese sentido, el compliance y las auditorías preventivas son una estrategia vital para detectar y corregir errores de manera oportuna, evitando posibles pasivos fiscales o como parte de un proceso due diligence previo a una fusión, adquisición o escisión.


Nuestras auditorías aduaneras en estricto apego a reglas y procesos de auditoría con el propósito de verificar el cabal cumplimiento de las disposiciones legales, fiscales y aduaneras que resulten aplicables a sus operaciones comerciales.

Los Beneficios

Con nuestra asesoría, empresas podrán evaluar:

  • Cumplimiento de Obligaciones Aduaneras y Comercio Exterior, previo y post-despacho;
  • Posibles Contingencias Fiscales-Aduaneras, incluyendo IGI, IVA, IEPS, DTA.
  • Expedientes de Comercio Exterior y Legal Estancia de Mercancías;
  • Poderes a Agentes Aduanales;
  • Optimizar Operación y Logística;
  • Políticas de Cadenas de Suministro;
  • Contratos de Compra Venta;
  • Aspectos de Propiedad Intelectual;
  • Otros aspectos regulatorios relacionados con el Comercio Exterior y Aduanas.

Auditorías en Materia de Comercio Exterior y Procedimientos Aduaneros en Materia Aduanera (PAMAs) del SAT

Cuando la autoridad aduanera, SAT, inicia procedimientos para revisar el cumplimiento de las obligaciones aduaneras de una empresa, nuestros equipos de comercio exterior y litigio trabajan coordinadamente para desarrollar una estrategia legal en contra de los actos de autoridad.


La defensa legal en materia de comercio exterior y aduanas puede consistir desde acompañar y asesorar a las empresas durante las visitas de verificación hasta celebrar acuerdos conclusivos con el SAT y PRODECON. Nuestro objetivo siempre será reducir los pasivos fiscales y combatir eficientemente los actos de autoridad con recursos legales.


De ser necesario y conveniente para el cliente, VTZ puede impugnar y combatir las resoluciones de la autoridad aduanera con una demanda de amparo o un juicio de “nulidad” ante los tribunales competentes, incluso solicitar la suspensión de los efectos legales.

Prácticas Desleales de Comercio Internacional y Cuotas Compensatorias

Nuestros equipo de prácticas desleales de comercio internacional está listo para representar a empresas en investigaciones antidumping o procedimientos relacionados (i.e. revisión, exámenes de vigencia, elusión de cuotas compensatorias, nuevo exportador) tramitados ante la Unidad de Prácticas Comerciales Internacionales (UPCI ) de la Secretaría de Economía.


Con más de 100 investigaciones antidumping en la bolsa, VTZ ha asesorado y defendido exitosamente a productores nacionales, importadores y empresas extranjeras de todo el mundo dedicadas a toda clase de bienes investigados.  Consulta nuestra lista de casos más recientes:  VTZ – Casos Antidumping.

Antidumping Investigations and Duties: How can we help?

If the Ministry of Economy initiates an anti-dumping investigation, we encourage interested importers and exporters to contact us. VTZ will assess whether it is convenient to appear in the investigation.

Having in-depth knowledge of the Mexican antidumping practice, exporters will have complete responses to the Official Questionnaire with the support of VTZ. As a result, the Ministry of Economy normally calculates individual dumping margins to our clients.    

If an injury defense is requested,  VTZ will prepare a thorough submission with the goal to dismiss the Mexican Industry’s claims, and we may even engage in a price undertaking negotiations.

Whenever feasible, we advise and assist importers to request a refund of anti-dumping duties.

Our key members, Adrián Vázquez, Emilio Arteaga, and María Mejía, comply with all the legal requirements to have access to the confidential file. By obtaining the corresponding bond, our clients will be able to immediately benefit from a robust legal defense in an anti-dumping investigation, increasing the chances of success.

The confidential information is never shared with clients or a third party in accordance with the applicable legal provisions.

VTZ can periodically study the behavior of imports, assess whether there are grounds to initiate an anti-dumping investigation and, eventually, file the request before the Ministry of Economy, and represent the domestic industry throughout the investigation.

VTZ and the companies of the domestic industry will work closely and in coordination, always safeguarding confidential information in compliance with the provisions of economic competition.

We support Mexican companies subject to trade remedy investigations in other countries such as the US, Brazil, and the European Union, in coordination with foreign firms.

Héctor Vázquez Tercero, our founding partner, had a significant role in the creation of the Mexican trade remedy system. 

Legal Defense

Dispute Settlement in International Trade & Customs

International Trade Crisis

In rare cases, companies may face unforeseeable situations or acts of authority that jeopardize the commercial or operational viability of a project. For example:

  • a Presidential International Trade “Emergency” Decree;
  • the suspension of the importers or exporters registry;
  • the cancellation of the IMMEX or VAT / IEPS Certification program;
  • retaliatory measures of Mexico;
  • Reparation measures in accordance with the USMCA’s Rapid Response Labor Mechanism;
  • International Sanctions by Foreign Governments;

VTZ has experience in advising companies in times of crisis. By being part of the Alliott Global Alliance, we can support companies facing trade-restrictive measures from foreign governments.

Trade and Customs Legal Defense Before Courts

If a company considers that its operations were unfairly affected by Mexican Authorities, as a result of origin procedures, international trade audits, or any other customs procedure, VTZ has the experience to develop a strategy to reverse decisions in court. Our team of lawyers frequently represent companies in the following instances:

  • Administrative Remedies before Mexican Authorities;
  • Lawsuits or «nullity» claims before the Federal Administrative Court;
  • Lawsuits or «amparo» actions before the Federal Judicial Branch.

Free Trade Agreements Negotiations

VTZ has advised foreign governments on Mexico’s international trade regulatory framework during international negotiations, such as the WTO and Free Trade Agreements. As a result, we have the capabilities to provide extensive support to businesses and governments during Free Trade Agreement negotiations. Our team of experts can help analyzing and preparing negotiation strategies, as well as drafting and revising provision proposals.

Our team has first-hand knowledge regarding market access rules in Mexico. For Free Trade Agreement negotiations, VTZ can prepare a report regarding market access rules relating to tariff and non-tariff barriers, including a comparison or specific reports on rules of origin provided in key Free trade agreements. Given that our team regularly advises companies on market access and rules of origin, we can also identify key areas of opportunity and provisions for negotiators, including an explanation of the international trade and business regulatory framework of Mexico.

Our team can provide the highest level of technical knowledge on customs procedures in Mexico. Thus, VTZ can enable negotiators to make better decisions during the course of the Free Trade Agreement negotiations. The information we provide comes from over 50 years of experience in the trade & customs practice, including IMMEX regulations, automatic and non-automatic licenses.

Our international lawyers have the technical knowledge and capabilities to support negotiators on drafting the legal text as well as making the minor, but delicate changes to the final and authentic version of the treaty text either in English or Spanish.

Our Guides on International Trade and Customs

Key Members

Why Choose VTZ?

We know international trade and customs inside-out, and we always push the limits in favor of our clients. Thanks to our specialization and the way we serve our clients, VTZ Law Firm has received numerous awards:

Our firm and members’ specialization allows us to understand the regulatory complexity for international trade operations, guiding our clients and their businesses.

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