Mexico - Country Commercial Guide
Market Challenges

Learn about barriers to market entry and local requirements, i.e., things to be aware of when entering the market for this country.

Last published date: 2021-09-02

At the time of this writing, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to generate some uncertainty for the Mexican economy, as well as business development efforts by U.S. exporters. The government and private sector have made concerted efforts to support economic reactivation, however some purchase orders, new capital investments, and other business projects remain on hold, or are moving forward more slowly than prior to the pandemic. While stay-at-home orders in Mexico and other restrictive public health measures have been lifted as conditions have improved, the availability of vaccines and the rate of their distribution to the Mexican public is progressing more slowly than it has in the United States. As a result, most large, in-person meetings or gatherings continue to be postponed or have been rescheduled to take place virtually. This continues to complicate communications with potential business partners, buyers, regulators, and government contacts, and is likely to continue to do so for some time.

Mexico’s size and diversity are often under-appreciated. It can be difficult to cover this vast market with a single distributor or agent. As with any new commercial endeavor, U.S. firms should consult with legal counsel before entering into any business agreements.

The López Obrador Administration has moved forward with several changes in government procurement, the healthcare system, economic development policy, energy policy, and infrastructure priorities. Please see the relevant sections of this guide for more information on the specific opportunities and questions raised by Mexican Government policies.

The banking system in Mexico has shown signs of growth after years of stagnation, but interest rates remain comparatively high. Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) find it particularly difficult to obtain financing at affordable rates despite Mexican Government efforts to increase access to capital for these businesses. U.S. companies need to conduct thorough due diligence, and they should be conservative in extending credit and alert to payment delays. As one element in a prudent due diligence process, the U.S. Commercial Service in Mexico can conduct background checks on potential Mexican partners. U.S. companies should help Mexican buyers explore financing options. Options should include the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) programs, especially since Mexico is one of the largest markets for EXIM in the world.

Mexican customs regulations, product standards, and labor laws may present challenges for U.S. companies. At the U.S. Embassy and consulates in Mexico, U.S. Foreign Service Officers from the U.S. Departments of Commerce, State, and Agriculture are available to guide firms on regulations that affect their export product or business sector—from commercial, agricultural, and labor matters to intellectual property rights and standards.

Continued violence involving criminal groups has created heightened insecurity in some parts of Mexico, including in some border areas, in certain port zones, and along truck and rail corridors. The State Department provides a security assessment of every state in Mexico, and the American Chamber of Commerce in Mexico (AmCham) conducts an annual survey of security trends affecting businesses. All U.S. travelers to the country are strongly encouraged to visit the U.S. Department of State’s Travel Warning website.