Mexico's President Orders Suspension of Tourist Vehicle Deposit

At the request of Mexico’s Senate and in the face of opposition on both sides of the
border, Mexico President Ernesto Zedillo on December 2 ordered suspension of the tourist
vehicle deposit that had gone into effect on December 1. According to an Interior Ministry
news release, the program will be carefully studied and a modification sought. Mexican
government officials had announced earlier that tourists would have to pay a deposit of
$400 to $800 for automobiles or trucks taken into the country beyond the 15-mile border
zone, as of December 1, 1999. The law would have applied to towed vehicles, as well as cars
and trucks towing travel trailers; it would not have applied to motorhomes, nor to vehicles
entering Baja California. The deposit would have been refunded when the owner exited the
country with the vehicle for which a deposit had been paid. The amount of the deposit was
to be based on the value of the vehicle: Owners of U.S.-registered cars manufactured before
1994 would have been charged $400; $600 for owners of cars made between 1994-98; $800 for
newer models. The original purpose of the charge, according to officials at the Mexican
Embassy in Washington, D.C., was to reduce the number of vehicles driven into Mexico and
then sold. Approximately 1.5 million used cars that were illegally brought in from the
United States are currently circulating in Mexico, according to these officials, and used
cars cost about twice as much in Mexico.


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