Doing Business in Mexico
Exporting to Mexico
President Obama announced the National Export Initiative (NEI) two years ago, with the goal of doubling exports by 2014. We’re off to a great start. U.S. exports are up 37% globally and up 53% to Mexico in the past two years. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico is committed to supporting U.S. companies to start exporting or grow their exports to Mexico. In this section, you’ll find a quick description of Mexico as an export market and some suggestions for getting started.
- Visit the export.gov page on Mexico to get an overview of economic conditions and opportunities. Access the U.S. Commercial Service Market Research Library containing more than 100,000 industry and country-specific market reports, authored by our specialists working in overseas posts. The Library Includes: Country Commercial Guides (read latest “Doing Business In” guides) (2012 Mexico Country Commercial Guide (PDF 1.4MB) and Industry Overviews
- Contact your local U.S. Export Assistance Center for advice and support on exporting to Mexico. Contact a Trade Specialist Near You
- Contact your local Small Business Development Center (SBDCs). SBDCs are partnerships primarily between the government and colleges/universities administered by the Small Business Administration and aims at giving educational services for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
- Contact the Commercial section of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico for specific counseling about your product and potential for its success in Mexico.
Here are some facts to consider about doing business in Mexico.
- The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was enacted in 1994 and created a free trade zone for Mexico, Canada, and the United States, is the most important feature in the U.S.-Mexico bilateral commercial relationship.
- Mexico is the United States’ 3rd largest trade partner and 2ndlargest export market for U.S. products.
- U.S-Mexico bilateral trade increased from $88 billion in 1993, the year prior to the implementation of NAFTA, to $460 billion in 2011, an increase of 423 percent.
- Mexico is the most populated Spanish speaking country in the world and has 112 million people with 78% living in urban areas. 10% of the population is considered wealthy class and about 45% in poverty earning less than USD $10 per day. The remaining 45% of the population is considered middle class. Mexico has a very young population with a median age of 27. It offers a large market with a GDP of approximately USD $1.1 trillion. Per capita income is USD $15,100.
- With a shared Western and Hispanic culture U.S. producers find it easier to market and sell their services and products in Mexico.
- There is a large installed base of manufacturing in a wide range of sectors.
- Mexico is a stable democracy.
- Mexico has bounced back strongly from 2009’s worldwide recession. In 2011 Mexico-United States bilateral trade increased by 17 percent from 2010 levels and Mexico’s GDP increased by 3.9 percent.
- More information on doing business in Mexico (PDF 1.4MB)
Potential investors: Getting Started.
If you are considering investment in Mexico, here are some steps you may wish to consider as you get started:
- Register with the U.S. Embassy – If you are planning a visit to consider investment, let us know by sending an email to the contact addresses on this page.
- Visit host country resources, such as ProMexico
- Contact local U.S. business support organizations, such as the American Chamber of Commerce in Mexico, the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce and the Commercial section of the U.S. Embassy
- You may also want to review a list of business service providers
- Subscribe to our embassy Facebook page
- Consult the Investment Climate Statement, Chapter 7 of Country Commercial Guide (PDF 1.4MB)
Current investors: Staying Connected.
If you are a current U.S. investor in Mexico, the U.S Embassy wants to stay in touch. Here are a few steps you can take to keep the channels of communication open:
- Register with the U.S. Embassy – If you are active in Mexico, let us know by sending an email to the contact addresses on this page.
- Add us to your mailing lists – we are always happy to stay informed
- Subscribe to our embassy Facebook page
- Set up a meeting with our economic or commercial team to discuss any issues that arise
Working in Mexico
In this section you will find information on business visas, travel advisories, and anti-corruption tools.
For information on obtaining a visa to do business in Mexico visit the Mexican Embassy
Make sure to check the current State Department travel advisory
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is an important anti-corruption tool designed to discourage corrupt business practices in favor of free and fair markets. The FCPA prohibits promising, offering, giving or authorizing giving anything of value to a foreign government official where the purpose is to obtain or retain business. These prohibitions apply to U.S. persons, both individuals and companies, and companies that are listed on U.S. exchanges. The statute also requires companies publicly traded in the U.S. to keep accurate books and records and implement appropriate internal controls.
A party to a transaction seeking to know whether a proposed course of conduct would violate the FCPA can take advantage of the opinion procedure established by the statue. Within 30 days of receiving a description of a proposed course of conduct in writing, the Attorney General will provide the party with a written opinion on whether the proposed conduct would violate the FCPA. Not only do opinions provide the requesting party with a rebuttable presumption that the conduct does not violate the FCPA, but DOJ publishes past opinions which can provide guidance for other companies facing similar situations.