Mexico - Country Commercial Guide
Market Challenges
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The COVID-19 pandemic has largely become a non-factor in the Mexican economy. The government and private sector have rolled back most, if not all, previous restrictions on in-person activities and commercial operations. Travel and business-related events and conferences have resumed. Ongoing frictions in the supply chain for key industrial components, and high prices for certain manufacturing inputs and logistics services, continue to negatively impact the outlook of Mexican companies in certain key sectors. Nonetheless, demand from most firms has returned to pre-pandemic levels and numerous companies are forging ahead with new capital investments and other business projects.

Mexico’s size and diversity are often underappreciated. 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 agreement.

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 specific opportunities and challenges raised by these 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 find it particularly difficult to obtain financing at affordable rates, despite Government of Mexico 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. The U.S. Commercial Service in Mexico can conduct background checks on potential Mexican partners to assist U.S. companies with their due diligence process. U.S. companies should help Mexican buyers explore financing options, which include programs of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM). Mexico is one of EXIM’s largest markets.

Since initiating various energy reforms in 2013, Mexico has pursued amendments to its Electricity Power Industry Law and taken actions that are limiting the ability of private companies to participate effectively, if at all, in Mexico’s energy sector. These actions include delaying, denying, or failing to act on applications for permits; suspending or revoking existing permits; and blocking companies’ ability to operate renewable energy facilities, to import or export electricity and fuel, to store or transload fuel, and to build or operate retail fuel stations. In July 2022, the USTR announced that the United States had requested dispute settlement consultations with Mexico under the USMCA over Mexico’s energy policies.

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.

In 2022, U.S. companies increasingly reported the introduction of criminal charges against their companies’ officials and related parties stemming from contractual or other commercial disputes. U.S. firms investing or doing business in Mexico should take care to familiarize themselves with Mexican laws and procedures that permit parallel criminal cases —largely stemming from allegations of fraud— to proceed simultaneously with relevant commercial disputes.

Continued violence involving criminal groups has created heightened insecurity in some parts of Mexico, including in some border area

s, 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 review the U.S. Department of State’s Mexico Travel Advisory and other country-specific travel information.

All U.S .companies are encouraged to participate in State Department’s Oversees Security Advisory Council (OSAC), the government’s premier private sector security partnership.