New import permit for Mexico resolves impound problems

Mexico marina managers and officials came to San Diego last week to unveil the new Temporary Import Permit. They are (L to R) Fito Espinoza, Marina Coral; Enrique Fernandez, Puerto Los Cabos; Enrique Salcedo, Marina Puerto Escondido; Daniel Shroyer, Marina de La Paz; Christian Mancebo, Marina Vallarta; Mario Calderon, Marina San Carlos; Rafael Alcantar, Marina La Cruz; Dina Madrid, Federal Administrator of Mexico Customs Operations; Alejandro Santander, Mexico Consul General; Eduardo Corona, Marina Cortez; Emilio Oyarzabal, Marina Nuevo Vallarta; Guillermo Sarabia, Baja Naval; Secundino Alvarez, Marina Puerto de la Navidad; Gabriel Ley, Marina CostaBaja; Enrique Jimenez, Ensenada Cruiseport Marina.
Bill Robinson
San Diego—Revamped import permits for boaters entering Mexico were unveiled this week by three federal officials during a boat show seminar here.

Licenciada Dina Madrid flew up from Mexico City to announce the newly released 10-year Temporary Import Permit (TIP) to a room packed with recreational boaters and marine industry representatives. Last year, problems with the TIP form – which ordinarily allows boaters to keep their vessels in Mexico tax free for up to 10 years – inadvertently lead tax investigators to impound 330 yachts in nine marinas.

Madrid delineated 22 specific changes on the new TIP forms and explained how each improvement now clarifies in English and Spanish some of the more confusing terminology, and how each change corrects past deficiencies.

She explained that one of the first changes is that the vessel owner’s name may be different from the person bringing the boat into Mexico, but the TIP will always be carried in the owner’s name. If ownership changes, the original TIP must be cancelled before the new boat owner can obtain a new 10-year TIP for that vessel. Another major clarification is the difference between the hull identification number (HIN) and the vessel’s state registration or Coast Guard document number. Mistakes in these three areas caused most of the impoundments.

Madrid is a federal liaison officer between the Aduana (Customs) and SAT (Mexico’s IRS), so she is the highest ranking official to represent Mexico’s efforts to resolve the problem. She also announced newly streamlined rules for how U.S. boaters can obtain and renew TIPs in the future. It can be obtained for $45 in advance online, or in person for $51.

Madrid gave boaters a sneak peek at the new English - Spanish website where the new TIPs will be available starting in August, 2014: http://www.sat.gob.mx/aduanas/vehiculos/importacion_temporal/Paginas/embarcaciones.aspx
Lic. Alejandro Santander, Director of the Mexico Consulate, assured the crowd of boaters that Mexico has taken the impound issue seriously and has been working for months on changes to the federal tax and importation laws so this problem doesn’t happen again.

Santander said boaters who already have a TIP and need to make changes – such as replacing boat parts brought down from the U.S. - may do so at the nearest Port Captains office or nearest Aduana office. They don’t need to exit Mexico to update their TIP. But he reminded boaters that they are legally required to keep the TIP onboard the boat while in Mexico.

He made the analogy of driving in the U.S. without your driver’s license. 'You can’t just tell the officer that you have one but you left it at home.'

Santander’s office is in the Mexican Consulate Building in downtown San Diego, and he invited boaters to contact him if they encounter problems with the new TIP.

Sra. Tere Grossman, president of the Tourist Marina Owners Association of Mexico, came from San Carlos, Sonora, to speak about the most common mistakes boaters have made in filling out the TIP forms, and how to remedy these problem. Grossman is the founder of Marina San Carlos and Marina Seca, where hundreds of U.S. yachts summer over each year.

Grossman said the marina owners group has been working with the federal tourism department for 15 years to iron out paperwork wrinkles – usually before they occur, she said. During the question and answer session, Grossman was able to help many boaters in the audience with specific concerns.

Also presenting the seminar were the marina managers or dockmasters from 13 different marinas along Mexico’s Pacific coast.

Fito Espinosa of Marina Coral and Hotel in Ensenada introduced by name each of his fellow dockmasters; they came from Baja Naval and Cruiseport Village Marina, both in Ensenada, IGY Marina in Cabo San Lucas, Marina de La Paz and Marina CostaBaja, both in La Paz, Marina Puerto Escondido near Loreto, Marina San Carlos in Sonora, Marina Riviera Nayarit in La Cruz, Marina Nuevo Vallarta and Marina Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta, and Marina Puerto Isla Navidad in Barra Navidad.

Each marina manager presented a brief show displaying the beauties and amenities of their marinas, and invited boaters to visit and enjoy their area of Mexico. Large canvas shopping bags stuffed with gifts were handed out to each boater in the standing-room-only audience.

The single problem after the unveiling of the new TIP was that, due to a short on the docks, the seminar tent lost all electrical power. Instead of projecting glamorous PowerPoint programs with music on the big screen, the marina contingent had to hold up their laptops so the audience could see.
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