Your guide to exporting to Mexico

Want to sell your products south of the border? Use our export to Mexico guide

Read the source article by The International Trade Administration (ITA) here.

With a population of 127 million, a growing middle class, and love for American-made products, Mexico is an ideal choice for many first-time U.S. exporters. Since 2014, the Mexican government has initiated major economic reforms, which have not only opened up many sectors to potential investment, but also addressed problems around organized crime and corruption.

Let’s explore a few of the reasons why Mexico could be the right fit for your company’s expansion plans.

1 Why export to Mexico?

Attractive market

Regardless of sector, Mexico is a highly attractive market for many Amercian firms. Mexican shoppers appreciate the quality of US made goods, and the retailers themselves value the products’ long shelf lives and great after-sales support.

Investor-friendly environment

Since 2016, Mexico has encouraged foreign investment in underdeveloped areas known as Special Economic Zones. In return, these zones offer commercial incentives like improved trade facilities, fewer regulations, duty-free customs, and infrastructure development programs.

Skilled labor force

Mexico’s labor force is young, with a median age of just 28. It’s also skilled and relatively cheap – making manufacturing costs comparable to those in Asia.

Large economy

At USD 1.1 trillion, Mexico’s economy is the second largest in Latin America and 15th worldwide. Large and diverse, it has deep trade and investment links with the U.S., and the Mexican government recently passed new reforms in the energy, telecom, labor, financial, and education sectors to help boost global competitiveness.

Strong trade relations

After Canada and China, Mexico is America’s third largest trading partner and second largest export market. In 2017, the U.S. sold USD 243 billion of U.S. products to Mexico, and USD 33 billion of services. In fact, Mexico is the first or second largest export destination for 27 U.S. states. It’s also America’s third largest export market for agricultural products, buying USD 19.5 billion in goods like corn, soybeans, dairy, pork, beef, fish, and forestry products in 2017.

2 Key considerations for exporters

While Mexico is undoubtedly an appealing prospect for many US exporters, there are a few things to be aware of when planning your cross-border expansion strategy.

Forging relationships can take time

Most day-to-day business in the U.S. is done by email or phone but in Mexico, things are a little different. Here, doing business is very relationship-driven – and you may need to invest time building partnerships, attending meetings, and developing trust. You should also allocate plenty of time and budget to visit your trade partners once or twice a year.

Mexico is made up of many markets

It’s important not to see Mexico as just one market. For example, setting up with a distributor based in Mexico City won’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to serve the entire country. Instead, see Mexico as a series of smaller markets – each requiring their own distributors and approach. On a similar note, rather than selling direct to Mexican consumers, you should consider building relationships with local Mexican firms who can help you reach the market.

Focus on localization

There are over 60 languages spoken in Mexico, but the most common one is Spanish. Make sure your marketing and communication materials are translated accordingly, and bear in mind that while commercial partners can speak English, they often feel more comfortable doing business in Spanish.

Mind the demographics

Of the country’s 125 million inhabitants, 10% are considered wealthy, 44% live in poverty and (46%) are middle class. In 2017, estimated per-capita income was USD 9,304 (or USD 19,900 on purchasing power parity basis).

3 Sources

For more information and advice, explore the country commercial guides on export.gov, or contact the U.S. Commercial Service.