Executive Guide to Doing Business in Mexico

Overview of Mexico
Major cities
Population growth
Age structure
Life expectancy
Gross Domestic Product
Income per capita
Biggest imports/exports
Major trading partners
Health expenditures per capita
Medical device market size
Government expenditure on healthcare
Private expenditure on healthcare
Out-of-pocket expenditures
Physicians & hospital beds per 1,000 people
Doing business with Mexico
Documents needed to import
Time to import into Mexico
Burden of customs procedure
Logistics performance index
Enforcement of contracts
Exchange rate history
Total tax rate

Overview of Mexico

Capital: Mexico City
Language: Spanish
Currency: Peso
Population: 188 million (2013 est.)

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is the most populous Spanish-speaking country and fifth largest in the Americas. The country is organized as a federation, similarly to the USA, made up of 31 states and a Federal District – Mexico City. Mexico is one of the world’s largest economies, with the fourteen largest GDP (or tenth by purchasing power parity), and was the first Latin American member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD. It is considered a newly industrialized country and one of the most important emerging economies, being classified by the World Bank as an upper-middle income country. As the country continues to upgrade its infrastructure and attract private investment, there are still a socio-economic gap and poverty in rural areas that need to be tackled. [1]

Major cities in Mexico

Mexico City – 20
Guadalajara – 4.4
Monterrey - 4
Puebla – 2.6
Toluca– 1.8

Mexico has an urban population of 78% (2010 estimate), up 4% from 2002. Mexico City has the second-largest urban agglomeration in the Western Hemisphere, being overtaken only by Sao Paolo, Brazil. As of 2012, there were ten Mexican cities have a population of over 1 million.

Population growth in Mexico

Mexico is the 11th most populous country in the world, as well as the most populous Spanish speaking country worldwide and second in Latin America, following Brazil. As the net migration rate is reaching 0 due to Mexico’s strong economy, the country’s population is on track to grow to 123 million inhabitants by 2042. The growth rate between 2000 and 2010 (1.4% per year) is far less than that experienced in the 1960s (3.4%), as a result of the reduced fertility in the recent decades.[2]

Mexico population growth

Age 0-14 - 29%
Age 15-64 - 65%
Age 65+ - 6%
Median age - 27

Age structure in Mexico

With 29% of its population under 14 years, Mexico has been dominated by a young population, when compared to other countries in the Americas, such as Brazil (25%), Argentina (24%) or the USA (20%). The share of youth in the population is expected to decrease so that by 2027, this age group will no longer be the dominant demographic in Mexico. [3]

Mexico age structure

Male/female: 75/79
Globally: 68/71

Life expectancy in Mexico

Mexico has made a remarkable progress in terms of improving the quality of life of its citizens. Life expectancy for women has increased from 74 years in 1992 to 79 in 2012 and for men from 69 to 75. The numbers are below the average for OECD countries, where women life 83 years and men 77, but higher than Brazil, India or China. In the future Mexican longevity is expected to increase at about 2.5 years per decade. [4]

Mexico life expectancy

US$ 1,177 trillion (ranked 14th)

Mexico's Gross Domestic Product

After taking a dip in 2009 and contracting by almost 20%, Mexico’s GDP has grown by an average of 6.7% from 2010 to 2012 and is expected to reach 1.8% growth in 2013 and 3.7% in 2014 with the easing of global financial tensions. The largest component of the GDP is the service sector, with 70.5%, followed by the industrial sector, with 25.7%. [5] [6]

Mexico GDP

Income per capita in Mexico

US$ 9,742 (ranked 67th)

Mexico’s nominal GDP has increased by 60% in the past 10 years, according to data from the World Bank. The country’s per capita GDP fall behind that of the Russian Federation and Brazil but overtakes India and China. However, this amount is set to increase to US$ 63,149 by 2050, surpassing all but three European countries and coming close to that of Japan’s. [7]

Mexico GDP per capita

Biggest imports/exports in Mexico

Mexico is the second largest medical device market in Latin America, following Brazil, dominated mostly by imports from the United States. With increasing health expenditure and the acquisition of new technology, Mexico is the leading medical importer in Latin America, albeit some of these imports are used to produce goods that are sent back to the USA. Exports of medical devices totaled 5,798 million USD in 2010, 93% these going to the United States. The main export goods, according to 2010 GlobalTrade Atlas data, were medical, surgical and deontological instruments and orthopedic devices. [8]

Imports come from:
United States – 50.5%
China – 15.5%
Japan – 4.8%
Exports go to:
United States – 78%

Major trading partners for Mexico

Although the USA is Mexico’s main trading partner, Mexico signed 12 free trade agreements that involve 44 countries such as Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. The country is also part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) along with Canada and the USA and negociating FTAs with the European Union, Israel and Japan. [9]

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Healthcare in Mexico

Mexico has achieved universal healthcare in 2012, all of its citizens being eligible for healthcare subsidized or partially subsidized by the federal government. Today over 50 million people have access to a health insurance, Mexico allocating 6.2% of its GDP for health expenditures, three percentage points behind the OECD average. The universal healthcare program installed in August 2012 decreased rates of diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis by making vaccinations and preventative treatments more widely available.

The demand for healthcare is expected to increase as the country’s population ages – it is estimated that by 2016, 7.5% of Mexico’s population will be 65 or older. Other health issues such as the prevalence of diabetes and hypertension caused by the country’s obesity rate of 30% is expected to grow the healthcare industry to $22.66 billion by 2015.[10] [11] [12]

US$ 73.40 billion (2011)
Health spending per person:
US$ 620
Growth from 2006 to 2011: +66%
Total health expenditure on health as % of GDP: 6.2%

Health expenditure per capita

Mexico’s health spending per capita has increased by more than 50% in the past 10 years, coming close to Russia’s health expenditure of $807 but below other countries in Latin America such as Brazil, Chile or Argentina.

health expenditure capita Mexico

Government expenditure on healthcare

The percentage of government spending on health as a percentage of total healthcare costs has increased for Mexico in the past 10 years by as much as 10% to 49%. Mexico spends a similar percentage on health as Brazil (45.74% in 2011) and the USA (45.94%) but less than China, with 55.89%. [13]

general expenditure health Mexico

Private expenditure on healthcare

Private expenditure on health has been decreasing in Mexico by 8.5% over the past 10 years, reaching 50.55%, a number below Brazil (54.26%) and the USA (54.06%), and above to China’s private health expenditure, at 44.11%.

private expenditure health Mexico

Out-of-pocket expenditures

Mexico has one of the highest out-of-pocket costs when compared to other countries in the region. With 92% of private expenditures being made out of pocket, Mexico exceeds countries such as the USA (21%), China (79%) and Brazil (57%). This amount, however, is decreasing from 95% in 2001, as more and more citizens will receive subsidized health coverage.

out of pocket expenditure health Mexico

US$ 4 billion (2011, revenue)
Number of hospitals: 4,354
Growth Potential: 2 (1 - low; 5 - high)

The size of the Mexican medical device market

Mexico is the first exporter of medical devices in Latin America, with 8.56 billion USD in medical devices having been produced in 2011. The cluster of medical device manufacturers is located in Baja California, a region that accounts for 36% of medical device exports and is home to more than 60 companies. Most of the market is dominated by imports from the USA, supported by tariff preferences granted by NAFTA and the geographical location. Over the past 10 years, the sector has received considerable investment of close to US$ 1 billion from the USA, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. [14] [15]

Physicians & hospital beds per 1,000 people

There are 2 physicians per 1,000 people, according to 2010 World Bank data, while 2004 data show the number of nurses and midwives being 4 per 1,000 people. Mexico overtakes India (0.65 physicians and 1 nurse per 1,000 people) and China (1.46, 1.51 respectively) but falls behind Germany (3.69 & 11.38) and the USA (2.42 & 9.80).

physicians Mexico

In terms of hospital beds per 1,000 people, China with 1.7 beds falls behind countries such as as Brazil (2.3 beds), the USA (3) or the European Union average (5.8).

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Doing business in Mexico

Doing business in Mexico

The Global Competitiveness Report puts Mexico on the 55th position on the Global Competitiveness Index 2013-2014, ahead of Brazil, The Russian Federation or India. Factors such as a stable macroeconomic environment, a good banking system and a large internal market contributed to the ranking, down 2 positions from the previous year. In terms of the ease of doing business, Doing Business ranks Mexico 53rd out of 189 economies surveyed, ahead of Brazil, Argentina as well as the regional average for Latin America & the Caribbean region.

ease of doing business Mexico

Documents Needed to Import

There are 4 documents required to import into Mexico, 3 less than the regional average. The number is also below the USA and the EU, which require 5 types of documents to import. [16]

  • Bill of Lading
  • Commercial invoice
  • Customs import declaration
  • Packing list

documents to import Mexico

Time to import into Mexico

It takes on average 11 days to import into Mexico, an improvement from previous years and a number below the regional average (19 days), Argentina (30 days) or Brazil (12 days).

time to import Mexico

Burden of customs procedure

To import into Mexico, all medical devices must be registered through the Sanitary Registration process with the Mexican Secretariat of Health. An application is required, along with several documents and user instructions. US manufacturers are not required to pay import duties to bring medical devices into Mexico. NAFTA eliminated virtually all tariffs on medical equipment from the US and Canada. [17]

Logistics Performance Index – 3.52

The Logistics Performance Index (LPI) is the average score for a country reflected by the efficiency of custom procedures, trade and transport related infrastructure, ease of arranging competitively priced shipments, quality of logistics services, ability to track and trace consignments and timeliness of shipments in reaching their destination. With an LPI of 3.06, Mexico is ranked 47th, behind China, Brazil and India but ahead of Brazil. [18]
1 = Low; 5 = High

Enforcement of Contracts

It takes 400 days to enforce a contract in Mexico and involves a cost of 31% of the claim and 38 procedures. Globally, Mexico ranks 71th in terms of how easy it is to enforce contracts, above the regional average, but below other economies in the region, such as Argentina or Chile.

Mexico enforcement contracts

Exchange rate history

For a detailed overview on how the the Mexican Peso has moved in recent years, please see the graphic below.15

Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)

The total tax rate for Mexico amounts to 53.7% of a company’s profits spread in 6 tax payments, processing and paying these taxes requiring 334 hours of work. This puts Mexico in line with the regional average, on the 118th position, outperforming China, Argentina or Brazil but being overtaken by Chile or Colombia.

Mexico tax rate

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Data compiled November 2013. Updated yearly

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