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Trade Profile

In this page: Foreign Trade in Figures | Trade Compliance | Standards

 

Foreign Trade in Figures

Mexico is highly dependent on foreign trade, which represents 78% of its GDP (2016). The country has signed a dozen free-trade agreements with about forty different countries of the world. The country has been a member of NAFTA (the free-trade treaty between the United States, Mexico and Canada) since 1994, but the U.S. President Donald Trump has announced that he would like to renegotiate the treaty. The country signed a free-trade treaty with the European Union in 2000 and a trade treaty with Japan came into force in April 2005. Currently, Mexico is negotiating an extension of its free-trade treaty with the European Union.

The United States purchases 80% of Mexico's exports. Canada and the European Union are also among the most important clients of Mexican exports. The country mainly exports electrical and electronic equipment, vehicles, mineral fuels, oil and machinery. Its three main import partners are the NAFTA countries, China and Japan. It mainly imports electrical and electronic equipment, machinery, vehicles and plastic products.

Mexico's trade balance is structurally negative, a trend that has been accentuated by the slowdown of the U.S. economy and the decline in world oil prices. In 2016, the trade deficit stood at USD 13.1 billion, a decrease from its 2015 levels (USD 14.6 billion), due in part to the buoyant export of manufactured goods. The protectionist policy announced by Donald Trump is likely to penalise Mexican exports.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20122013201420152016
Imports of Goods (million USD) 380,477390,965411,581405,280397,516
Exports of Goods (million USD) 370,770380,015397,129380,772373,930
Imports of Services (million USD) 26,20328,36430,34129,49531,926
Exports of Services (million USD) 16,14620,19421,08622,60924,097
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 5.52.66.08.61.1
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 5.82.47.010.31.2
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 33.832.733.437.140.0
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 32.631.832.335.138.2
Trade Balance (million USD) 291-909-2,790-14,524-13,082
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 66.464.465.772.278.1

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) - 2017; World Bank - 2017

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2016
United States 81.0%
Canada 2.8%
China 1.4%
Germany 1.1%
Japan 1.0%
Spain 0.9%
United Kingdom 0.9%
Colombia 0.8%
Brazil 0.8%
South Korea 0.7%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2016
United States 46.5%
China 18.0%
Japan 4.6%
Germany 3.6%
South Korea 3.5%
Canada 2.5%
Malaysia 2.1%
Thailand 1.4%
Italy 1.4%
Brazil 1.2%

Source: Comtrade, 2017

 

Main Products

373.9 bn USD of products exported in 2016
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 8.4%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 7.0%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 6.3%
Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 5.7%
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 4.2%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 4.1%
Television receivers, whether or not incorporating radio-broadcast receivers or sound or video recording or reproducing apparatus; video monitors and video projectors 3.5%
Insulated incl. enamelled or anodised wire, cable incl. coaxial cable and other insulated electric conductors, whether or not fitted with connectors; optical fibre cables, made-up of individually sheathed fibres, whether or not assembled with electric conductors or fitted with connectors 3.0%
Instruments and appliances used in medical, surgical, dental or veterinary sciences, incl. scintigraphic apparatus, other electro-medical apparatus and sight-testing instruments, n.e.s. 1.8%
Seats, whether or not convertible into beds, and parts thereof, n.e.s. (excl. medical, surgical, dental or veterinary of heading 9402) 1.7%
387.1 bn USD of products imported in 2016
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 5.9%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 4.7%
Electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies 3.9%
Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 2.8%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 2.6%
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 2.5%
Parts and accessories (other than covers, carrying cases and the like) suitable for use solely or principally with machines of heading 8469 to 8472, n.e.s. 1.5%
Electrical apparatus for switching or protecting electrical circuits, or for making connections to or in electrical circuits, e.g., switches, relays, fuses, surge suppressors, plugs, sockets, lamp-holders and junction boxes, for a voltage <= 1.000 v (excl. control desks, cabinets, panels etc. of heading 8537) 1.5%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 1.4%
Transmission apparatus for radio-telephony, radio-telegraphy, radio-broadcasting or television, whether or not incorporating reception apparatus or sound recording or reproducing apparatus; television cameras; still image video cameras and other video camera recorders; digital cameras 1.4%

Source: Comtrade, 2017

 
 
 

Main Services

22.6 bn USD of services exported in 2015
Travel
77.21%
Insurance services
14.03%
Transportation
6.31%
Royalties and license fees
1.36%
Communications services
0.71%
Cultural and recreational services
0.38%
31.9 bn USD of services imported in 2015
Transportation
40.23%
Travel
31.71%
Insurance services
13.62%
Government services
8.04%
Royalties and license fees
2.74%
Other business services
1.29%
Financial services
0.95%
Cultural and recreational services
0.92%
Communications services
0.49%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

 

Exchange Rate System

Local Currency
Mexican Peso (MXN)
Exchange Rate Regime
Currency exchange controls were suspended in 1991. Today, there is a free conversion of currencies, as well as the right to transfer profits and capital without limitations of amount or time.
Level of Currency Instability
The exchange rate of the Mexican peso is generally considered to be stable, as partially illustrated by the country's sound investment grading. However, the peso's value can sometimes strongly fluctuate. See the Bank of Mexico for more information on current and historical trends of the exchange rate.
 
 
Monetary Indicators 20122013201420152016
Mexican Peso (MXN) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 13.1712.7713.2915.8518.66

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 
 

Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Member of OECD
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party of the International Coffee Agreement 2007
Main International Economic Cooperation
Mexico has signed free trade agreements with the European Union, North America, the European Free Trade Association, and trade agreements with Mercosur, the Northern Triangle, Japan and Israel. The country has also signed a trade agreement with 21 other countries in the São Paulo Round of the Global System of Trade Preferences among Developing Countries (GSTP). Mexico is part of the Pacific Alliance.

See this list of free trade agreements with Mexico on the Mexican Government's website.

Party of the ATA Convention on Temporary Admissions and Use of the Carnets
Yes

As a Reminder, the ATA is a System Allowing the Free Movement of Goods Across Frontiers and Their Temporary Admission Into a Customs Territory With Relief From Duties and Taxes. The Goods Are Covered By a Single Document Known as the ATA Carnet That is Secured By an International Guarantee System.
Look Up the Other Member Countries And Read the Web Pages of the World Customs Organization Devoted to the ATA Carnet.
Party of the TIR Convention
Yes

As a Reminder, the TIR Convention and its Transit Regime Contribute to the Facilitation of International Transport, Especially International Road Transport, Not Only in Europe and the Middle East, But Also in Other Parts of the World, Such as Africa and Latin America.
The UNCTAD Website Allows You to Read the TIR Convention, See the List of Member Countries And to Find Further Information.
Accompanying Documents For Imports
Goods shipped to Mexico must include the following documents:

- Single Administrative Document (DUA)
- Commercial invoice; three copies, written, in preference in Spanish
- A phytosanitary certificate for fruits, vegetables and seeds
- A sanitary certificate for meats
- Form EUR1 to benefit with a preferential rate; applied to European Union exports
- Certificate of radioactive contamination: mandatory especially for dairy products
- Free trade certificate for cosmetics, issued by the Ministry of Health of Mexico
- Documents related to the transportation and packaging lists

Mexican customs law is very strict regarding proper submission and preparation of customs documentation. Errors in paperwork can result in fines and even confiscation of merchandise as contraband.

Free Zones
Cancun and free zones where 'Maquiladoras' are located.

There is new areas called free trade zones (FTZ). Mexico has four FTZs: San Luis Potosi, Mexico City, Monterrey and Guanajuato.
For Further Information
Mexican Customs Agency official website
Ministry of Economy
Non Tariff Barriers
Since joining GATT in 1986, Mexico has reduced the number of products subject to import license. For those products still regulated, a permit must be obtained from the Ministry of the Economy. There are still a large number of specific conditions for textile products. Approximately 10% of imported goods are checked in detail, especially automobile, chemical, pharmaceutical, metallurgical and agricultural imports. Though origin regulations may allow goods to benefit from the reduction of duty taxes, rules have become more rigorous since Mexico signed onto NAFTA.
Sectors or Products For Which Commercial Disagreements Have Been Registered With the WTO
Can be consulted on the World Trade Organisation site.
Assessment of Commercial Policy
Mexico’s commercial policy, as seen by the WTO
Barriers to exchanges, inventoried by the United States
Barriers to exchanges, inventoried by the EU
Sanitary and phytosanitary barriers, inventoried by the EU

Learn more about How to Export to Mexico on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

 

Standards

National Standards Organisations
Ministry of the Economy: Competitiveness and Standards
Integration in the International Standards Network
Mexico is a member of the following: International Organisation for Standardisation, International Electromechanical Commission, International Union of Telecommunication and Pan-American Commission for Technical Standards.
Obligation to Use Standards
The Mexican Official Standards (NOM) are mandatory. They are issued by government agencies. There are also voluntary standards (NMX.CC) that can be applied on local, regional or national levels. These are the equivalent to ISO 9000 standards. Certificates and laboratory analysis are recognised by the National System of Accreditation and by The National Laboratory of the Construction .
Classification of Standards
Official stamp 'NOM' with the name of the ministry of state that issued it.
Assessment of the System of Standardization
Mexicans respect standards and consider them a signal of quality and safety for products and services. However, national standards are less known than the Standard ISO 9000.
Online Consultation of Standards
Catalog of Official Mexican Standards (NOM's)
Certification Organisations
Association of Standards and Certification
Mexican Institute of Standards and Certification
NYCE Electronics Standards and Certification Organisation
National Organisation for Building and Construction Standards and Certification

 

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Last Updates: October 2017