Mexico - Commercial Guide
Market Overview

Do you want to export to Mexico? Start by using the Country Commercial Guide, a trusted resource for companies at every level of exporting experience. Our guides are produced by trade experts at U.S. embassies and consulates in more than 140 countries. They provide insights into economic conditions, leading sectors, selling techniques, customs, regulations, standards, business travel, and more. Read the overview below, and continue using the left navigation tool. In addition, visit our United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) website at trade.gov/usmca.

Last published date: 2020-08-17

There are four key reasons why U.S. companies should consider exporting to Mexico:

  1. Mexico is the 15th-largest economy in the world with further growth potential from its young population (median age 28).
  2. Given Mexico’s large, diversified market, most U.S. products and services have ample opportunities. The new U.S.–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA, see below) seeks to generate even more opportunities for U.S. companies.
  3. Mexico has generally enjoyed stable economic growth since the 1990s, despite weakening in 2019 and a COVID-linked recession in 2020.
  4. Close cultural, social, and economic ties make Mexico a natural market to consider for first-time and expanding exporters.

Mexico’s USD 1.3 trillion economy is the second-largest economy in Latin America and the 15th-largest economy in the world. Mexico has a large, diversified economy that is linked to its deep trade and investment relations with the United States. Mexico is an upper–middle-income G-20 and OECD member with a per capita GDP of USD 10,118. Still, Mexico’s 2.5 percent average annual GDP growth rate since the signing of NAFTA in 1993 has been slower than most emerging markets, due in part to its high rates of labor informality (57 percent), poverty (43 percent), and declining oil production. With deepening of the COVID pandemic and economic contraction in the U.S. and world markets, some analysts forecast a real reduction in Mexican GDP of 10 percent to 12 percent by mid–2021.

Mexico ranked number one among U.S. trade partners in total trade in 2019, with a value of USD 614.5 billion. Exports totaled USD 256.4 billion and Imports totaled USD 358.1 billion, and this trade directly and indirectly supports millions of U.S. jobs. U.S. exports to Mexico fell 3.26 percent while U.S. imports from Mexico rose 3.35 percent. The U.S. deficit with Mexico was USD 101.8 billion. Mexico is the first or second-largest export destination for 27 U.S. states. Top U.S. product exports include electronics, vehicles, fuels, minerals, plastics, and machinery. Mexico is the second-largest agricultural export market for the United States, importing USD 19.2 billion in U.S. agricultural products, including corn, soybeans, dairy, pork and beef products in 2019.

Both countries have over USD 144 billion in bilateral, reciprocal foreign direct investment (FDI). Mexico is the 20th-largest investor in the United States, having invested a total stock of USD 42.9 billion at the end of 2019 U.S. affiliates of Mexican-owned firms, in such diverse sectors as food, communications, plastics, metals, auto components and business services, employed 81,600 American workers in 2017 (the most recent year for which figures are available). Over the last 20 years U.S.-Mexico supply chains have become increasingly integrated.

In July 2018, Andrés Manuel López Obrador won the Mexican presidential election with the largest margin in decades. President López Obrador took office on December 1, 2018, and moved quickly to implement an ambitious agenda to reduce corruption and violence while boosting public investment and social program spending. His National Regeneration Movement party (Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional or MORENA) and its coalition partners hold 66 percent of seats in the lower house and 61 percent in the Senate. MORENA has majorities in 18 of 32 state congresses and is the largest block in three more. Public expectations remain high López Obrador will use his mandate to address Mexico’s corruption, security, and economic challenges.

In August 2017, the United States entered into negotiations with Canada and Mexico (the Parties) seeking to update and rebalance the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which had progressively eliminated tariffs and trade restrictions since 1994. The resulting United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) was signed on November 30, 2018, and it entered into force on July 1, 2020. The USMCA replaced NAFTA to better serve the interests of American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses. The USMCA modernizes and rebalances U.S. trade relations with Mexico and Canada and reduces incentives to outsource by providing strong labor and environmental protections, innovative rules of origin, and revised investment provisions. The Agreement also brings labor and environment obligations into the core text of the agreement and makes them fully enforceable. Now in force, it will promote reciprocal trade with Mexico and Canada, support high-paying jobs for Americans, help grow the U.S. economy, and help North America recover from COVID-related economic losses.

The USMCA expands U.S. access in Canada for certain U.S. dairy, poultry, and egg products. It will also help reduce costs and facilitate trade via new commitments on customs inspections, automation, and the treatment of low-value goods. In addition to these achievements, the Agreement upgrades NAFTA in key areas. For example, the USMCA establishes the strongest and most advanced provisions on intellectual property and digital trade ever included in a trade agreement. Finally, the USMCA also includes several groundbreaking provisions to combat non-market practices—such as subsidies and currency manipulation—that have the potential to disadvantage U.S. workers and businesses.

For more information, see our USMCA Highlights below and visit the Office of United States Trade Representative website (www.ustr.gov) and the International Trade Administration page on the USMCA.

Mexico is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), G-20, and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Mexico has 13 FTAs covering 50 countries, including the 11-country Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP, formerly known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership). For U.S. exporters, Mexico’s participation in these international agreements means that, in general, the Mexican market is one of the most open and competitive in the world.

In terms of demographics, Mexico is the most populous Spanish speaking nation in the world. Seventy-nine percent of its inhabitants live in urban areas. Ten percent of the population is considered wealthy, and about 44 percent lives in poverty. The remaining 46 percent of the population is considered middle class.