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

£2.1 billion total UK exports to Mexico for the four quarters to the end of Q1 2022

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2022)

44th largest UK export market

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2022)

0.3% of total UK exports for the four quarters to the end of Q1 2022

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2022)

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.

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 July 1st, 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 Q1 2022

Goods Value (£million)
Medicinal & pharmaceutical products 133.5
Beverages 124.2
Cars 79.2
Iron & steel 59.6
Mechanical power generators (intermediate) 58.0

Source: ONS Trade in goods: country-by-commodity exports
Last updated: July 2022
Download the latest trade and investment factsheet for Mexico.

Top five UK services exported to Mexico, in the four quarters to the end of Q1 2022

Service Value (£million)
Other Business Services 295.0
Insurance and Pension 226.0
Telecommunications, computer and information services 125.0
Intellectual property 95.0
Financial 78.0

Source: ONS UK trade in services: service type by partner country, non-seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2022
Download the latest trade and investment factsheet for Mexico.

Mexico: at a glance

Economic growth

4.8%

Actual figure (IMF, 2021)
The UK is 7.4% (IMF, 2021, projected figure)

GDP per capita

$8,507

Actual figure (IMF, 2020)
The UK is $41,127 (IMF, 2020, projected 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

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

Trade barriers

Check for any reported barriers to trading with Mexico.

Report any trade barriers that are affecting your business so we can help fix them.

Operating in Mexico

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 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.