How to export to Mexico
Mexico is a big importer of Spanish products. Spanish gourmet products in particular are very popular in Mexico. Several large Spanish hotel chains such as Melia, Barcelo, Riu Hotels, NH and Catalonia also have hotels and resorts in Mexico. Hence, there is an almost continuous flow of food product exports aimed at Spanish clients who travel to Mexico as well as furniture and products for decorating hotel facilities. At TIBA, our hotel logistics department specialises in this type of work.
Requirements for exporting to Mexico
The basic requirements for exporting to Mexico, as with any other country, are a sales invoice for the goods and a packing list. Other types of documentation may be requested depending on the type of goods involved, e.g. medical products. However, if you want to export to Mexico, it is worth remembering that the country has its own specific requirements.
Currently Mexico and Spain have a free trade agreement which means that certain tariff benefits are granted with the issuance of a EUR-1 certificate.
In order to benefit from reduced tariffs, it is important that the goods declared in the EUR-1 are exactly the same as those declared in the Single Administrative Document (SAD) for export and in any other customs clearance documentation.
There are two circumstances in which the EUR-1 is not necessary:
- Where the value of the goods does not exceed €6,000 with a declaration on the invoice, for any exporter..
- Goods of any value with a declaration on the invoice, for authorised exporters only.
Register of Importers
Furthermore, the importer must be on the Mexican Register of Importers held by the country’s Tax Administration Service. The register was created to combat tax evasion, to better manage foreign trade operations and to prevent the informal economy by monitoring importers bringing goods into the country and encouraging them to comply with their tax obligations. It was also intended to detect and prevent various customs fraud practices, including smuggling, affecting both the federal tax authorities and the country’s industries.
Having a customs agent in Mexico is essential
Having a customs agent in Mexico is essential if you want to avoid additional difficulties. The Mexican customs authorities are rigorous and exacting and the smallest paperwork mistake can lead to goods being withheld with all of the resulting associated costs.
Having someone at destination to receive the goods, who is aware of all the details and is familiar with how customs operates, is crucial.
Non-tariff barriers between Mexico and Spain
These are some of the problems and difficulties, other than tariffs and taxes, involved in exporting Spanish products to Mexico:
- A lack of protection of intellectual and industrial property rights (including Protected Designations of Origin and Geographical Indications). This affects some of Spain’s most traditional products such as serrano ham, chorizo, Iberian or Pamplona salchichon, sherry and Manchego cheese. Mexico uses the expressions “serrano style”, “Pamplona style” and “Manchego style” to market products made in Mexico arguing that these terms do not refer to Designations of Origin but to the traditional ways in which the products are manufactured.
- The frequent rejection of European documentation. The slightest error in a EUR-1 delays the entry of goods, thus generating further storage costs.
- Public spending favours domestic products at the expense of foreign goods. Mexican nationals can bid for public tender contracts.
- Health and plant health barriers. For certain products, particularly food products such as ham and cheese, specific documentation and veterinary certificates are needed. These documents must be prepared according to strict instructions, if they are not, the goods are likely to be held up on arrival.
Products that cannot be exported to Mexico
Any exporter should be sure at the beginning of the process that the goods involved are approved for import into Mexico.
The Mexican authorities pay particular attention to the importation of food products. As we said earlier, Spanish products are particularly popular in Mexico. The authorities’ control over this type of product is such that not just any food exporter can export goods to Mexico. An exporter must first be registered as an approved exporter with the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture before Mexico will accept their products.
Before goods are prepared and loaded into a container, it is worth confirming with the importer’s customs agent at destination that they will be accepted. Only once you are sure that the goods are authorised to enter Mexico should they be shipped.
In addition to this requirement, it is important to know which other products cannot be exported to Mexico from Spain:
- Antiques and archaeological remains.
- Hydrocarbon mixtures.
- Crude petroleum oils.
- Other derivatives of petroleum, natural tars and asphalts.
Spain to Mexico export figures
According to figures released by the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade, ICEX, exports from Spain to Mexico grew by 23.02% in 2015 compared to 2014, with values of €4,265.69 million in 2015 compared to €3,467.28 million in 2014. In fact, last year Mexico was the biggest recipient of Spanish exports in Latin America.
The most exported products to Mexico in 2015
These were the most exported products to Mexico in 2015:
- Machinery and mechanical appliances (€734 M).
- Motor vehicles (€597 M).
- Electrical equipment and apparatus (€488 M).
- Clothing, other than knitwear (€179 M), and knitwear (€135 M).
- Aircraft (€134 M).
- Chemical products (€119 M).
- Beverages (€118 M).
- Plastic products (€116 M).
In 2015, Spain was the third biggest exporter to Mexico behind Germany and Italy.
Legal constraints have made the development of key economic activities difficult for many years. However, in 2013, reforms in strategic sectors such as energy and telecommunications were approved, opening up new business opportunities in the Mexican market. In fact, there is a significant demand for Spanish equipment in the wind power industry. Other sectors of interest in terms of exporting to Mexico are the automotive, electrical, electronics and infrastructure industries.
Mexico is a country of great contrasts. Broadly speaking, consumption in the country continues to rise. With 118 million inhabitants and a young population, 50% of whom are 25 or under, Mexico is a continually developing country with significant potential for growth.
You may also be interested in our Quick guide to exporting.
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