The City of Chetumal has now officially been declared a free zone. Much like the Corozal Free Zone, this means that there is an exemption from the general tax on imports and an exemption from the customs processing fee. This decision was made with an aim to reboot the economy which has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The declaration that establishes the new tariff regime for Chetumal was signed onto on November 27 and came into effect on January 1, 2021. The new tariff agreement outlines a reduction of the Value-Added Tax (VAT) from sixteen percent to eight percent while income tax has been reduced from thirty percent to twenty percent. Love News spoke to Juan Jaime Minguer Ceron, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism in Chetumal on how they are hoping this new system will help their economy.
Juan Jaime Minguer Ceron, President, Chetumal Chamber of Commerce and Tourism: “The idea is that this Freezone project will bring a bigger diversity in foreign and local activities so that the shops invest, so that people invest, so that people take advantage of the opportunity and bring about more foreign investments. It can be national, international so that there can be more diversity in the economy of the city which is what it lacks right now. It is different than what was previously the old Freezone. This Freezone will be different, there will be structure, schemes and this will bring better opportunity to those who come to invest and have better security.”
Minguer Ceron also spoke about how they hope this scheme will be beneficial to Belizeans and other markets that they are looking at to improve trade.
Juan Jaime Minguer Ceron, President, Chetumal Chamber of Commerce and Tourism: “The idea is that we can do business with the government and Belizean businesses providing more opportunity for collaboration between both countries. The closing of the border has been affecting us a lot and we have realized now it is time for this action to take place. We are hoping for better commercial relationship between both countries. The Chetumal Freezone will be most beneficial to those countries that we do not deal with commercially. For example Belize has long established trades with Asian countries that Mexico does not. We are looking for opportunities to promote business or trade with countries we do not have ties with. We hope this will also be beneficial to the Belizean government on a regional level.”
The Mexican Government has been working on making Chetumal a Free Zone since 2018.