Mexico - 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: 2020-09-08

The Plastics and Resins industry is a best prospect industry sector for Mexico. This section includes a market overview and trade data for this sector.

Overview
Mexico’s plastics industry relies heavily on imports from the United States. Total U.S. exports to Mexico of plastic materials and products accounted for USD 16.47 billion in 2019; 15.7 percent of that being polymers and resins. This sector also contributed USD 3.46 billion worth of exports of rubber and its products in the same year. This industry heavily supplies the automotive sector and follows a similar production trend, though diversified by its ties to the appliance, electronics, electric, and aerospace sectors, in that order. 

Mexico is the largest market for U.S. exporters of plastics products (HS-39) and the second-largest destination for rubber (HS-40). Plastics were among the five top U.S. export categories to Mexico in 2019. Mexico is also the largest destination for U.S. tools, dies, jigs, peripheral equipment, and industrial molds. Additive manufacturing has now jumped to mass production in some industries.

According to Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía or INEGI), Mexico’s economy was stable in 2019 with no accountable growth, while the value of total production in the plastics industry did grow by 2.2 percent. In 2020, this industry faces the challenges of a disruption in the supply chain due to the COVID-19 health crisis and that of a more environmentally-conscious society. Despite a negative forecast for the Mexican economy in 2020 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), manufacturers hope to maintain sustainable growth rates as Mexico implements the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and negotiates other free trade agreements with key economies. Industry experts forecast that USMCA is likely to increase the opportunities for growth in the sector by substitution of parts that will no longer be imported from countries outside of North America. 

U.S. exporters to Mexico partake in a market worth over USD 40 billion in 2019, with opportunities for continued U.S. participation in the sale of capital equipment, resins, plastic materials, and plastic parts. Recycling technologies are also being considered by producers as the industry is urged to create sustainable economies to satisfy worldwide environmental commitments. Considering that, bioplastics are being developed by companies as an alternative to reduce non-recyclable waste. 

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

  

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020**

(Estimated)

Total Local Production

19.10

20.77

21.83

21.88

20.44

Total Exports

10.88

11.81

12.70

12.70

11.86

Total Imports

28.25

30.03

32.32

31.44

29.36

Imports from the U.S.

19.34

20.02

21.52

19.94

18.62

Total Market Size*

36.48

38.99

41.46

40.62

37.94

Exchange Rates

18.68

18.91

19.23

19.26

20.00

*Total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports
Sources: INEGI; **2020 estimates in USD from the IMF 

Leading Sub-Sectors
Mexico's plastics sub-sectors are capital equipment, plastic resins, plastic materials and parts, and plastic recycling.

Capital Equipment
According to data from the Secretariat of Economy, Mexico's global imports of capital equipment for the processing of plastics, including peripheral equipment and parts (HS 8477) was USD 447 million in 2019. Mexico’s major trade partners for capital equipment include Germany, China, the United States, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Canada, in that order. Mexico’s main imports from the United States include machinery and equipment for injection, blow molding, extrusion and thermoforming, including peripheral equipment and parts, all totaling USD 57.2 million in 2019.

Plastic Resins
Mexico produces over 4 million tons of the various resins, with PET, PVC, and HDPE making up around 50 percent of total production. As Mexico's production capacity for primary plastic resins is not sufficient to meet the sector's demand, imports are still necessary. In 2019, Mexico imported plastic primary products from the world (HS3901) in excess of USD 1.2 billion, with 86 percent of that sourced from the United States. Other supplying countries include Canada, Belgium, South Korea, Portugal, and Taiwan.

Plastic Materials and Parts
Mexican manufacturers produce a large variety of secondary and tertiary plastic materials including PP film, PVC pipe and fittings, laminates, and acrylic materials. The area of Central Mexico known as the Bajio is a region worth considering for initial market entry due to a large concentration of factories in the automotive sector supply chain.

Plastics Recycling
Mexico has Latin America’s largest recycling ratio of plastic waste at around 58 percent; however, that is only a portion of the country’s 17 percent overall recycling rate. Only 40 percent of recycled PET materials are exported, but Mexico is working to increase its recycling capacity.

Plastics Thermoforming 
Thermoformed plastics products are in high demand. A large number of companies in this sub-sector are competing to supply the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, automotive, and medical device manufacturing industries. 

Opportunities
U.S. Commercial Service Mexico is happy to assist you in exploring market opportunities in the plastics sector. Below are some highlights.

Capital Equipment
U.S. exports to Mexico of primary processing machinery and equipment are low, but U.S. technology for extrusion machinery is preferred by manufacturers. The most popular imports from the U.S. include auxiliary equipment for plastics processing. Mexico’s plastics manufacturers are attractive prospects for extruders, blenders, mixers, and automation solutions for primary and secondary plastics processing.

Plastic Resins
OEM clients provide the best opportunities in Mexico for U.S. suppliers of plastic resins. Most of these deals are carried over by headquarters-based buyers who concentrate purchasing decisions for the company’s worldwide operations. Suppliers should consider participating in B2B meetings in this field, which provide direct interaction with key buyer contacts. Small U.S. exporters of resin should target the numerous small and medium sized manufacturers operating in the various industrial regions in Mexico.

Plastic Materials and Parts
Because of the increased demand of plastic parts by new foreign companies establishing plants in Mexico, supply of sophisticated high tolerance plastic automotive components is an opportunity for U.S. manufacturers. Buyers of auto parts often require their suppliers to establish their operations near their plants. Although this may be a challenge for U.S. SME autoparts producers, it is good to consider that these buyers prefer the experience and capabilities of certified suppliers. 

Plastics Recycling
Most of Mexico’s exports of recycled PET and other resins are manufactured by small and medium-sized recyclers. Large recyclers produce for their own consumption as their way to assure compliance with health and environmental standards (NMX-E-263-CNCP-2016, ISO 17422:2002, ISO 15270:2008, among others). Plastic recycling technologies and high purity recycles will be in demand in the next few years, not including waste-to-energy technologies which are opposed by environmental groups and the current presidential administration.

Customs and Environmental Regulations
Plastic resins and materials pertaining to HS3901 through HS3926 originating in the USMCA region are free of the 5 to 15 percent Mexican duty. A ban on single-use plastics that was implemented by 18 states was suspended temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic to permit the manufacture and use of such products in the medical supply chain. However, 37 of the 39 Mexican states are firm in their decision to either prohibit or reduce the use of single-use plastics.

Web Resources

Asociación Nacional de Industrias del Plástico (ANIPAC)

www.anipac.com

U.S. Dept. of Commerce Trade Stats Express

http://tse.export.gov/tse/tsehome.aspx

Manufactura Magazine

www.manufactura.mx/industria

Ingenieria Plastica (online magazine)

www.ingenieriaplastica.com

Plastics Technology Mexico

www.pt-mexico.com

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

www.ecoce.org.mx

Events

  • Plastimagen 2020, Centro Citibanamex, November 10-13, 2020, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Expo Pack, Expo Santa Fe, Mexico City, June 8-11, 2021
  • Meximold, Querétaro Centro de Congresos, Querétaro, México, October 7-8, 2020

Contacts
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
Mario.Vidana@trade.gov