Regulatory Update: 

Recently, the Association of Customs Brokers of Airport Mexico (AAADAM) published a memo providing guidance on how Vacutainer™ blood collection tubes and similar blood collection tubes should be classified when imported into Mexico.

According to the memo, Vacutainer™ tubes, which typically have a sterile interior, may or may not include chemical additives such as preservatives, and incorporate a secure, color-coded cap, should be classified as 9018.39.99 of the Harmonized System (HS). In support of this guidance, AAADAM cites a classification decision issued by the Harmonized System Committee in 2006 in which the HS Committee weighed in on the classification of plastic blood collection tubes. 

AAADAM also asserts that Customs in Mexico agrees with the interpretation of the HS Committee’s classification decision. Therefore, importers of Vacutainer™ and similar tubes should begin classifying their products accordingly. This means that importers will need to:

  • Ensure their import pedimentos declare 9018.39.99 as the classification
  • Ensure their COFEPRIS import license also shows this classification. Importers who already have an existing COFEPRIS import license that does not indicate the classification will need to apply for a new or revised import license. This process can take up to 15 business days to complete.
  • Importers of this type of collection tube may be subject to additional duty payments based on the required classification, which is currently 5% for 9018.39.99

Local Customs brokers in Mexico are reporting that Customs is already auditing import shipments to ensure that Vacutainer™ and similar collection tubes are classified as 9018.39.99 on the import pedimento and import license. Shipments that are not classified as such may be held or refused entry.

It is important to note that AAADAM’s memo does not represent a new regulation or change in classification interpretation. The HS Committee’s classification decision on blood collection tubes has been in circulation since 2006. What is new is Customs’ sudden decision to enforce the use of the suggested classification.

The HS Committee interprets the legal text of the HS and publishes decision papers, the Compendium of Classification Opinions and the Explanatory Notes to the HS.   Customs officials frequently refer to the HS Committee’s interpretive documents when classifying products imported into their country and often encourage importers to use them as well.

Questions may be sent to Marken’s trade compliance team at tradecompliance@marken.com

Daniel J. Bell

VP. Regulatory Compliance & Technical Affairs                    21, August 2015