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: 2020-08-17

At the time of this writing, the COVID pandemic creates significant uncertainty for the Mexican and North American economies, as well as business development efforts by exporters. Potential business deals, purchase orders, and projects have been placed on hold indefinitely, while in other instances projects are moving forward at a rapid pace. Stay-at-home orders in Mexico have complicated communications with potential business partners, buyers, regulators, and government contacts. Forecast drops in Mexico’s GDP anticipate reduced government and private sectors revenues, along with an unknown effect on the Mexican peso in the medium term -projected real economic decline rates for 2020 are -6 to -10 percent.

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 administration 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 SMEs. 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 offices in Mexico can conduct background checks on potential Mexican partners. U.S. companies should help Mexican buyers explore financing options. Options should include U.S. Export-Import Bank (EXIM) programs, especially since Mexico is the largest market 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 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 Department of State’s Travel Warning website.