Exporting to Mexico

Mexico is the second-largest Latin American economy and is open to international business (World Bank, 2019). In 2018, trade between the two countries totalled £4.4 billion in goods and £2.8 billion in services (ONS, 2019).

Large consumer market

Mexico is the 10th largest population in the world and 67% of the population is between 15 and 64 years (World Bank, 2019).

High regard for British products

Mexico sees the UK as one of its most compatible trading partners. Its growing middle class is looking for safe, high-quality international products. In 2018 UK exports in goods to Mexico amounted to £2.0 billion (ONS, 2019).

Ease of doing business

60th

out of 190 countries (World Bank, 2018)

Currency

Mexican peso

Business languages

Spanish

You may need a translator

GDP per capita

$9,807

UK is $42,558 (IMF, 2018)

Economic growth

2.0%

(IMF, 2018)

Time zones

GMT -5

Opportunities for exporters

There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Mexico have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors.

Doing business in Mexico

Preparing to export

VAT

If you’re registered for VAT in the UK, it may be possible to zero-rate the goods you export to Mexico, provided certain conditions are met.

Regulations

Certain products, goods, processes and services must comply with Mexican regulations called normas (website in Spanish), or NOMs, before they can go on sale in Mexico. The main types of NOMs cover security, labelling and emergency.

Healthcare products must be registered with Mexico’s public health regulator COFEPRIS (website in Spanish) with documentation provided in Spanish.

Labelling

NOM-50 is the regulation referring to product labels. Imported product labels must be in Spanish and include:

  • a description of the goods
  • mark of origin
  • number of items
  • importer’s name and Mexican tax identification number
  • exporter’s name and Mexican tax identification number
  • whether an instruction manual is needed
  • any expiry date
  • metric measurements

Operating in Mexico

Intellectual property

As a first step, we advise you to speak to an intellectual property lawyer if you think you need patent protection when exporting.

The Mexican Intellectual Property Institute (website in Spanish) regulates the use of patents, trademarks, advertisement and business names in Mexico.

Business behaviour

Many people in Mexico don’t speak English and you may need a translator. A basic knowledge of Spanish will help you make a good impression.

Business attire is more formal in Mexico than in the US or Europe.

You need to use professional titles when greeting someone. If they don’t have titles you should call them Señor (Mr), Señora (Mrs) or Señorita (Miss) followed by their surname.

Avoid bribery and corruption

Mexico ranks 138 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2018.

In 2015 Mexico’s government introduced a national anti-corruption system to co-ordinate enforcement on federal, state and municipal levels. However, implementation remains a challenge and there are risks to look out for. We recommend that you:

Read guidance on what the UK bribery act means for your business and how you can reduce risk.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.