Exporting guide to

Mexico

Overview

Mexico is a North American country south of the United States. The World Bank now classes Mexico as an upper-middle-income country and the economically active population continues to grow.

Trade statistics

£3.3 billion total UK exports to Mexico for the four quarters to the end of Q3 2023

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: January 2024)

41st largest UK export market

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: January 2024)

0.4% of total UK exports for the four quarters to the end of Q3 2023

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: January 2024)

UK-Mexico Trade Continuity Agreement

In May 2022, negotiations launched on a new UK-Mexico free trade agreement (FTA). The deal seeks to make exporting goods and services online smoother and help British businesses expand more quickly. Read our latest updates for more information on the status of this agreement and how it may benefit your business.

Also, the UK concluded negotiations to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) on 31 March 2023 and signed the Protocol of Accession on 16 July 2023. Mexico is a member of the CPTPP.

Strategic gateway

Mexico is a strategic gateway, to both the US and Canada and the rest of Latin America. The US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) entered into force on 1 July 2020. Replacing NAFTA, this new agreement widens Mexico’s corridor of commerce with the largest consumer market in the world.

Large and youthful market

Mexico’s market is about the same size as the whole of western Europe with a population of over 120 million. It is a young nation, with 50% of the population under 28 years old (World Bank, 2020; World Population Review, 2020). The expanding population means demand for imports is set to grow.

Top five UK goods exported to Mexico , in the four quarters to the end of Q3 2023

Goods Value (£ million )
Cars 238.9
Medicinal & pharmaceutical products 225.3
Iron & steel 104.6
Mechanical power generators (intermediate) 95.6
Organic chemicals 70.8

Source: ONS Trade in goods: country-by-commodity exports
Last updated: February 2024
Download the latest trade and investment factsheet for Mexico.

Top five UK services exported to Mexico , in the four quarters to the end of Q2 2023

Service Value (£ million )
Travel 287.0
Insurance and Pension 286.0
Other Business Services 255.0
Telecommunications, computer and information services 222.0
Transportation 141.0

Source: ONS UK trade in services: service type by partner country, non-seasonally adjusted
Last updated: January 2024
Download the latest trade and investment factsheet for Mexico.

Mexico: at a glance

Economic growth

3.9%

Actual figure (IMF, 2022)
The UK is 4.1% (IMF, 2022, actual figure)

GDP per capita

$8,770

Actual figure (IMF, 2020)
The UK is $40,347 (IMF, 2020, actual figure)

Currency

Mexican peso

Business languages

Spanish

You may need a translator

Time zones

GMT -5

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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:

Check for trade barriers

Trade barriers, such as tariffs or taxes, can raise costs, cause delays, or even stop you from exporting. Check for any issues that may impact your business when exporting.

See current trade barriers

See resolved trade barriers

Check duties and customs

Find information on how to export goods from the UK. View the duties, rules, restrictions, and the documents you need for your products.

See current duties and customs procedures

Doing business in Mexico

Preparing to export

Mexico is generally considered to be a 'high-context' culture, meaning that communication is less formal, less explicit, and decisions are made based on long-term relationships and face-to-face interactions.

Clients should expect multiple meetings to negotiate a deal, with actual negotiations only taking place in the latter stages.

VAT

The VAT rate is 16% for all of Mexico. Basic products, such as food and drugs and some services, are exempt from 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.

Import duties

The rules of the UK-MX trade relationship can be found under the UK-Mexico Trade Continuity Agreement. Each product may be subject to different duties upon arrival into Mexico.

Check the trade agreement for more information.

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

Trade agreements

FTAs signed with more than 50 countries have opened up the Mexican economy to foreign competition. The UK and Mexico signed a trade continuity agreement on 15 December 2020. This will deliver vital coverage for the automotive, pharmaceutical, textiles, agriculture, food and drink and other manufacturing industries.

Intellectual property

Intellectual property (IP) rights are territorial. Rights granted in the UK do not provide protection elsewhere. You should consider getting IP protection abroad if you want to trade overseas or sell to overseas customers via the internet.

The Intellectual Property Office’s International IP Service provides practical information to help you protect, manage and enforce your IP abroad. Further support can be accessed through the service’s network of IP attachés. Based in key UK export markets, they provide guidance to British businesses on local IP matters.

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 126 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2022.

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

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