Mexico - Country Commercial Guide
Plastics and Resins

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-09-23

The plastics and resins industry is a best prospect for U.S. exporters in Mexico. Mexico is the largest market for U.S. exporters of plastic products (HS-39), totaling USD 19.3 billion in 2021, and the second-largest destination for U.S. rubber (HS-40), which totaled USD 3.3 billion in 2021. Together these export categories represent 26 percent of U.S. plastics and resins exports to Mexico. This section includes a market overview and trade data for this sector.


Mexico’s plastics market represents a strong opportunity for U.S. exporters due to its many applications in various sectors and final products. Plastic products and resins count among the top five U. S. export categories for Mexico in 2021. Mexico is also the largest destination for U.S plastics processing machinery,equipment, and peripherals.

Mexico’s plastic production has grown steadily at an average of 3.7 percent annually since 2017. Mexico experienced a significant shortage of resins -a consequence of a slowdown in primary industries-; at the same time, an increase in customer orders. Nevertheless, manufacturers maintained timely production and delivery schedules and saw production of plastics grow by 17 percent. Mexico’s total plastics imports reached USD 37.3 billion in 2021, 61 percent of which (USD 22.6 billion) came from the United States.

Mexico’s plastics industry is doing well despite the global slowdown in 2022, inflation, and an overall slow recovery of the Mexican economy. Positive factors for this industry inlcude a burst in reshoring activity and new orders received from the U.S. and Canada (with USMCA) Mexico’s plastic  industry was valued at USD 47 billion in 2021, with opportunities for continued U.S. participation in selling capital equipment, resins, plastic materials,  plastic parts, and molds. Producers also consider recycling technologies as the industry is urged to create sustainable economies to satisfy worldwide environmental commitments. Consequently, companies are developing bioplastics, as an alternative to reduce non-recyclable waste. 

The packaging and construction sectors drive Mexico’s plastic market, accounting for 47 percent and 12 percent of the market, respectively. Growth in the automotive, aerospace, and other leading industries, will likely continue to create opportunities for U.S. exports of manufactured parts and new engineering materials.

Mexico’s Plastics and Resins Production and Market Size  
(Figures in USD billions) 

Table: Mexico’s Plastics and Resins Production and Market Size  








Total Local Production






Total Exports






Total Imports






Imports from the U.S.






Total Market Size*






Exchange Rates






*Total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports
Sources: INEGI; **2021 estimate of market growth of 5 percent, from the IMF

Leading Sub-Sectors

Mexico’s plastics sub-sectors are capital equipment, plastic resins, plastic materials and parts, and plastic recycling.


Many companies in this sub-sector compete to supply the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, automotive, and medical device manufacturing industries.  Plastic packaging products used in the food and beverage industry are manufactured locally; however, specialized containers, pallets, totes, and bins with electrostatic discharged coatings utilized in production and final packing products, are opportunities for foreign manufacturers. Thermoformed plastics packaging is also in high demand.


Representing 12 percent of market demand, plastic products built for the construction industry are good prospects for sales in Mexico. In the last few years, Mexico’s construction industry has switched from being traditionally metal-based, to integrating plastics in water and gas piping, windows, doors, roofing tiles, and coverings. In the construction industry it is expected that more plastic products will be in demand as it adopts alternative building techniques.

Auto Parts

Plastics and rubber products have helped the automotive industry reach its goal to reduce vehicle weight by 30 percent, and demand continues to increase. Corporate buyers make decisions to purchase auto parts, and any U.S. exporter currently selling to automotive firms in the United States are the first option to supply Mexican plants.


Furniture is a large and growing subsector. While the sector is still developing and may not be a top prospect for U.S. exporters right now, the proliferation of plastic products for the recreation industry will likely continue to drive growth in this sector.


The use of plastic pipe and films for agriculture has grown alongside the proliferation of small local manufacturers. These producers largely use recycled plastics as feedstock, which many collect and process themselves.


Non-woven textiles are very popular in the recreation industry. During the COVID-19 pandemic these became even more popular, as they serve as the raw material for many medical protective garments. Non-woven polypropylene fabric is also popular in mining for its tensile strength and high resistance to acids and alkalis. There are a good number of Mexican manufacturers of non-woven fibers.


Below are some highlights of the opportunities based on current demand in Mexico for U.S. exports.

Capital Equipment

Mexican manufacturers have a keen preference for U.S. extrusion machinery and technology. The most popular imports from the U.S. include auxiliary equipment for plastics processing. Mexico’s plastics manufacturers are mainly looking for extruders, blenders, mixers, and automation solutions for primary and secondary plastics processing.

Plastic Resins

In 2021, Mexico international purchases of plastic resins worldwide totaled USD 37 billion. The distribution includes eleven percent for polyethylene, nine percent for polyesters, eight percent for polypropylene, and three percent for vinyl chloride. Large foreign suppliers of plastic resins have opportunities to sell to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). OEM deals are managed by headquarter-based buyers who concentrate on purchasing decisions worldwide. Small- and medium-sized suppliers are better off selling to tier manufacturers. Small U.S. exporters of resin should target the numerous small- and medium-sized manufacturers operating in the various regions in Mexico.

Plastics Recycling

Mexico recycles about 14.5 percent of the plastics consumed in the country, and has seen no significant increase in this figure over the last five years. Mexico is not a good market for foreign PET sales since it is more cost-effective to source locally. Most large Mexican companies recycle in-house for their own consumption to assure compliance with health and environmental standards. Plastic recycling technologies and high-purity recycles will be in demand in the next few years.


Customs and Environmental Regulations

There are no barriers to the importation of primary plastic products into Mexico. Plastic resins and materials pertaining to HS3901 through HS3926 originating in the USMCA region enter duty-free.

Regulations and Standards

Some Mexican states continue banning single-use plastics, while The Mexican Senate is considering measures to harmonize this policy nationwide.


Asociación Nacional de Industrias del Plástico (ANIPAC)

National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI)   

U.S. Dept. of Commerce Trade Stats Express                   

Manufactura Magazine                                                             

Ingenieria Plastica (online magazine)                               

Plastics Technology Mexico                                                   

Ecología y Compromiso Empresarial, A. C. (ECOCE)    


  • Expo Pack, Expo Santa Fe, June 14-17, 2022, Mexico City
  • Meximold, Querétaro Centro de Congresos, October 5-6, 2022, Querétaro City, Querétaro
  • Expo Residuos, Centro Citibanamex, March 7-9, 2023, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Expo Plásticos 2023, Expo Guadalajara, Marc 28-30, 2022, Guadalajara, Jalisco
  • Plastimagen Mexico 2023, Centro Citibanamex, November 7-10, 2023, Mexico City

For other important events in the plastics industry please visit:


For more information on plastics and resins in Mexico, please contact:

Mario Vidana

Commercial Specialist

U.S. Commercial Service—Monterrey

Tel.: +52 (81) 8047-3118