AMLO decree removes import tax on covid vaccines

By Victor Fuentes. The Federal Executive today decreed the creation of new tariff sections for import into the country vaccines against Covid-19 and aluminum tanks for oxygen for medicinal use, products that for now they will be exempt from taxes to foreign trade.

Without the exemption decreed by the President, which comes into force tomorrow, vaccines not from countries with which there is a free trade agreement, would have to pay a customs duty of 5 percent per kilogram.

Today’s decree clarifies that the exemption will only be in force until the health authorities officially determine the end of the health contingency for Covid-19 in Mexico, at which point importers would have to start paying the 5 percent tax.

As of December 24, a total of 2.3 million doses of vaccines of various origins have entered Mexico, but only the one produced by Pfizer-BioNtech arrived from a country with which there is a free trade agreement, Belgium, as the Others left India and China, and today a shipment of 200 thousand doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine is planned, which is manufactured in Russia and India, among other nations.

The decree of the federal executive will prevent tariffs from being applied to the importation of vaccines. Photo: Reformation.

Currently, only the federal government is importing vaccines, but the Ministry of Health (Ssa) authorized on January 24 that state governments and private institutions of the health sector also do so, which would have to pay the federal tax when the contingency ends.

Once the presidential decree for tariff fractions is published, the Ssa and the Ministry of Economy will have to reform an agreement that they published on December 26, in which they detailed hundreds of goods whose importation is subject to authorization by the Federal Protection Commission against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris), to include the vaccine against Covid-19.

With the number of the tariff fraction, the respective customs office may require the importer to show the Cofepris permit to bring the vaccine to Mexico, a procedure that will be more relevant when there are importers other than the federal government itself.

As for medical oxygen tanks, of which the country suffered a notorious shortage during December and January, to date there was no specific tariff section for their importation. In this case, the tax is 10 percent per piece, which will not apply while the health contingency is in force, but it will resume when it ends.

Similar tariff lines were for « containers for compressed or liquefied aluminum gas », or for « oxygen therapy devices ».

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