Maquiladoras do not pay taxes or duties for temporarily imported materials for manufacturing. That’s how foreign investment in Mexico works

The maquiladora scheme

An ideal program for foreign companies

To know how the foreign investment in Mexico works, it is necessary to be familiar the concept of maquiladora and how it works in this country.

A maquiladora is a business model born in Mexico. It consists of a foreign company that decides to set up an additional plant in another country to process materials.

To do this, materials from another country are imported to be assembled or manufactured. Once the material is processed, the merchandise is exported.

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Guaranteed business model

IMMEX regulates the behavior of any maquiladora

To operate a maquiladora in mexico it, it is necessary to submit an application to the Secretary of Economy. This way, the regulatory decree of maquiladoras (IMMEX) is in charge of deciding if a company has the necessary requirements to enter this model.

The concessions provided by this program are the exemption from the payment of the general import tax and the value added tax. There are times when compensatory dues are also deferred, and it depends on the IMMEX agreement.

Thanks to this model, starting a business in Mexico is very attractive for foreign investment due to the cost of not paying taxes and the low cost manufacturing environment.

Mexico carries out fabrication, assembly and manufacturing processes for foreign companies through maquiladoras

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Operating models for manufacturing

There are four basic operation models for manufacturing. Depending on the intervention that a company wishes to manage with respect to its new plant, it must choose the one that most resembles its purpose.

1. Direct ownership: This model allows the investment company to settle in Mexico and manage its financial, legal and administrative operations autonomously, having a total corporate presence in the country.

2. Shelter: This is a form of outsourcing, where the foreign company hires administration and manufacturing services without having to worry about operating, it will simply receive the final manufactured product.

3. Subcontracting: When a company requires manufacturing services, it can assign production to the manufacturing company of its choice.

4. Joint investment: When a company already exists in Mexico, another foreign company can join the operation to create a larger company.

Incentives for investment

Government programs to support the industry

Settling in Tijuana, Mexico, implies additional benefits because the region seeks government collaboration to generate plans and programs to promote foreign investment. Among the local, state and federal efforts, results have been translated into savings for investors.


General benefits of having a maquiladora in Tijuana, Mexico

  • Exemption from the payment of the general import tax
  • Exemption from payment of value added tax
  • Sometimes countervailing duties are deferred
  • No tariff rates
  • International competitiveness
  • Lower rates for companies in Asia
  • Agreements with the Ministry of Economy
  • Possibility of modification of program and modality
  • Total control over the operations of the maquiladora


Incentives in Baja California

  • Subsidies for employee training
  • Exemption from payroll tax (25% -100%) from 1-5 years to new projects or large extensions
  • Waiver of water connection payment (20% -50%)
  • Access to funds for infrastructure (Strategy companies)
  • Click here to view a complete list of State Incentives


Incentives in Tijuana

  • Fiscal: Reduction of payment of fees for municipal services (from 25 to 75%). This incentive is subject to the type of investment that the company is willing to make.
  • Non-fiscal: Support in the creation, establishment and maintenance of business activities, advice on solving problems and links with government programs aimed at companies.
  • Municipal government: Offers support in relation to public infrastructure in order to facilitate the optimal operation of companies in the city.

In addition to the IMMEX program, which offers the option of modifying the regulation it handles, the municipality of Tijuana has the flexibility to reach agreements. The local government and the industry work together to make the establishment and operation of companies convenient. Tijuana is a land willing to the growth of the industry.


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Initial recruitment

The state government provides assistance for the initial recruitment of a company.

In Tijuana EDC we can connect you with the administrative services experts in the maquiladora model. Boost your automotive manufacturing, electronics manufacturing or medical device manufacturing in Mexico.

In Tijuana EDC, we link companies with the three levels of government to motivate dialogue, agreements and participation, in order to drive initiatives that benefit the industry.

Tijuana EDC has more than 28 years of experience advising foreign companies to apply to the IMMEX program. We know all the requisites and benefits that involve setting up a plant in Tijuana, Mexico