Posted: Friday, February 11, 2022. 3:33 pm CST.
Photo Credit: Diario de Quintana Roo
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Belizean journalist Jorge Aldana reported on Facebook that he had been subjected to pay an export tax of $1,200 pesos which Mexican Customs calls a ‘pedimento’ and that he was forced to stay overnight because the office only operates from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
“The stress returning back from Chetumal does not worth visiting. The Guardia Nacional stationed at the Mexican border is no joke. They dig up your stuff and vehicle entering Mexico and upon exiting – Jesus it’s a nightmare,” Aldana said in alerting Belizeans of the situation on the Chetumal side of the border.
“If your shopping is over $300 bucks you must have every single receipt even for the chips. Over $500 the Guardia Nacional asks for a pedimento (document for clearance from a agencia de aduana- Mexican customs broker). Imagine the r… you have to go through. That service is $1200 pesos alone and there are about three at the old Subteniente Lopez Border (old Mexican border). They operate between 10 am and 4 pm. After that, they close, and you are forced to stay an extra night.”
“After you get your pedimiento document, you need to present it back at the NEW Mexican border upon exit for the Guardia Nacional to evaluate and charge you tax. Please note that if you taking a pickup truck, like in my case, the Guardia Nacional will tell you that you cannot take over $500 worth of stuff in the pan of your truck because your vehicle is not registered for cargo. You need to hire the service of a Mexican transport vehicle to cross over your shopping that they deem/considered cargo.”
Aldana’s and other Belizeans’ experiences have been reported in Mexican media sources like Por Esto and Diario de Quintana Roo newspapers and taxivigía which have published stories and live videos on the matter.
Por Esto recounted Aldana’s story in an article headlined ‘Amidst bribes and permits, a Belizean’s experience in visiting Chetumal’.
Taxivigia interviewed representatives from the Chetumal branch of the National Chamber of Commerce (CANACO) who said that the taxes are illegal and should only be charged to exporters, not to people who cross the border daily.
They and the taxivigía interviewer pointed out that Chetumal depends a lot on Belize’s cross-border trade because Belize citizens visit Chetumal for medical, entertainment, and shopping purposes. They reiterated that the Chetumal business community had been waiting for the border to reopen.
Diario de Quintana Roo (DQR) ran a story headlined ‘Belizeans mistreated – businessmen denounce Customs and Immigration’.
According to the DQR story, the president of Chetumal’s Entrepreneurial Coordinating Council (CCE) Eloy Quintal Jiménez sought the immediate intervention of the director of the Federal Tourism Ministry (Sectur) Miguel Torruco Márquez; of senator José Luis Pech Várguez, and of Federal Representative Anahí González Hernández, so that the Immigration and Customs authorities respect the border commerce policies.
DQR said that just days after Belize opened its borders after a two-year shutdown, the Immigration and Customs officials are affecting the border dynamics and their actions are having a negative impact on the economic recovery of the southern zone of Quintana Roo.
DQR said that the number of Belizeans who can cross is being curtailed because Belize only allows Belizeans to leave with a passport and a valid border card (TVR). At this point, many cards are no longer valid because of the two years the border was closed.
The other matter, said DQR, is that the Mexican Customs at Subteniente Lopez is incorrectly forcing Belizeans to process an export ‘pedimento’ when the laws allow shopping of up to $1,000 dollars (the article didn’t specify if US or Belize)
The articles in question may include clothes, shoes, hardware, home, and electric appliances, car parts, and computer equipment which Belizeans because of their shopping possibilities generally buy in Chetumal said the DQR story.
Quintal Jiménez said that the border authorities had been advised of the law but they have ignored it.
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