MEETING SOUGHT TO ALTER MEXICO APPAREL RULE

Byline: Jim Ostroff

WASHINGTON--The National Retail Federation, working with U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Jim Jones, is seeking a meeting this week between U.S. retailers and Mexican trade officials to modify or abolish a regulation that could stifle imports of foreign-made apparel into Mexico from the U.S.
Robert Hall, an NRF vice president, said Friday that Mexico has set a Sept. 1 effective date for the regulation that requires every import into Mexico to bear an original certificate of origin from the country where it was made. Goods imported into Mexico from non-GATT-member nations, such as China and Taiwan, also would require certification from a Mexican consular official in those nations that the goods were made there.
Hall said the rule "is an administrative nightmare...retailers import goods to a main distribution center in the U.S. and may export the products worldwide, meaning we would have to get origin certificates for everything we import."
Hall added that virtually all of the U.S.'s trading partners accept U.S. Customs declarations specifying the country of origin when goods imported into the U.S. are shipped abroad. Although Hall declined to say which U.S. retailers would make the mission to Mexico, he noted the regulation "is particularly onerous to U.S. retailers who have an eye on opening stores in Mexico."

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