What must a company do to bring personal protective equipment (PPE) to the country without any inconvenience?

This June, Mexico began to reactivate various sectors of the economy and production lines that had been paralyzed by the contingency measures established to contain COVID-19.

The changes should be quite noticeable. One of the most visible will be the acquisition of personal protective equipment (PPE) for professionals who share work areas.

Is your company ready to offer this type of equipment to your workers? To support your return to “the new normal” with 100% of your capacity and the necessary protection for your human capital, we have prepared a list of recommendations that you should apply when importing essential items of personal protection into Mexico.

1. Get a reliable supplier.

Even if you feel you’re against the clock to find where to buy your PPE, you should research well the market to find the most recognized companies in the area – and learn if they have any online complaints.

Requesting PDF materials – or even videos! – on the method of manufacturing the products is also a good suggestion, both to ensure that they meet minimum standards, and to ensure that the company really exists.

2. Examine carefully the supplier’s catalog.

When it comes to PPE, the price and quality of the material must be carefully evaluated. Plus, details such as if they’re fully certificated, with the manufacturer’s name on the document, are essential to avoid purchasing merchandise that isn’t really suitable for protection.

In the case of mouthguards, for example, you should look for those that have at least certifications from the United Stated Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) and 2015’s European Commission (EC), which authenticates that a product attends robust safety, health and environmental protection requirements.

If you can buy material with certification from the Mexican Federal Commission for Protection Against Health Risks (COFEPRIS), the better.

However, due to the workload of the Commission after the federal government decreed a health emergency, the certification process has been taken a few weeks.

On the other hand, if it is for personal use (that is, when it is not for medical use or to be sold to others), it is possible to import protective material without the COFEPRIS certification.

3. Learn the rules to get the product into the country (or ask a trading company for help).

Personal protective equipment can also be tools for determining symptoms, such as thermometers. In all cases, the correct handling and regulation of these products is in the public interest.

For this reason, all are subject to a strict control for their entry into the country, ranging from labeling regulations to having specific sector standards as an importer.

In any case, it is quite important that the supplier provides the technical data sheet of the product, so that the customs agency can easily determine the tariff fraction and, thus, the list of requirements to be met, both for the product and for the importer.

If the importer does not comply with the necessary licenses, he can seek the support of a trading company to get the cargo into Mexico.

4. Be very objective with the delivery conditions.

It is very important to get from the supplier a solid guarantee of production capacity. The demand for the sector is quite high and the supplier must have the ability to declare whether or not it can meet your delivery date expectation.

This type of materials takes between one and three weeks to be produced, and you should also consider the transport time to your door.

The delivery conditions, both at origin and destination, must be detailed. Normally, the negotiations of these products contemplate the Incoterms® FCA or FOB.

To sign import contracts at this time, it is essential to consult your logistics agent, since many airports have adopted new regulations that can change every week.

5. Check if the costs are transparent

Upon receiving a quote, check if the listed values include taxes, import and/or export fees, added services and other details such like those, to avoid unpleasant surprises when the payment order arrives.

Due to the volatility of the prices of the most requested products, also check the validity of the price offered.

6. Get your company a trustworthy freight forwarder.

Services’ prices on all modes of transportation, the availability of units, departures and transit times have been changing quite frequently. Did you know that, today, Shanghai Airport (PVG) is one of the most saturated and most expensive in China and in the world?

In addition, as we have mentioned in point 3, companies that do not have a register as importer can rely on a trading company, which often works together with a customs agent, to be able to import the merchandise with a textile importer register.

A team like ours at Europartners Group, which has worked incessantly throughout the contingency, is updated on the situation on all continents and modalities of transport. We can give you the current alternatives that meet your budget requirements and delivery date expectations, advising you on the export and import processes.

7. Double-check all the final import details.

If you have a trustworthy freight forwarder, they will take care of this step. The tasks here are quite specific.

As an example, we’ve listed some of the essential details for importing masks into Mexico:

  • The package must bring a “non-medical” notice so it can be exported without any issues
  • It is necessary to have the textile pattern
  • It must read “masks not suitable for medical use” on all documents used for import
    • Using the word “tapaboca” or “cubrebocas” can complicate the process
  • They must be properly packed
  • They cannot depart from any airport
    • Material produced in metropolitan China cannot be exported from Hong Kong, for instance

8. Your cargo must be insured

With the reactivation of the economy, personal protective equipment now suffers a high risk of theft, due to its high demand.

Insurance companies ask that the cargo travels with constant monitoring and some even recommend armed custody for transits in Mexico.

Thinking about the immediate needs of your company, at Europartners Group we are developing plans to facilitate the access of Mexican companies to personal protective equipment. Contact us now to learn more about this initiative.