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Mexico - Selling and buying

Contents extracted from the comprehensive atlas of international trade by Export Entreprises

Reaching the consumers

Marketing opportunities

Consumer behavior: The buying decision is strongly influenced by family and friends, but the most of the time, the buyer is the housewife. Mexicans frequently use customer service.  Promotional prices are very much appreciated.
Consumer profile: It is difficult to influence a Mexican consumer, he is aware of brand names, he is well informed and demanding on the cost-benefit ratio. Mexicans expect to be treated individually and prefer the places where there is personalized service.  In general, Mexicans are very loyal to their preferred brands.
Main advertising agencies:

Distribution network

Evolution of the sector: The three large commercial zones of the country are: the capital (Federal District) and its suburbs, Guadalajara and Monterrey. There is acute influence of the United States on consumer habits in the big cities. However, it is important to take into account that 20% of the population lives below poverty level and more than 58% in precarious conditions.
Types of outlet: The rise of the middle class in recent years has considerably increased the importance of the large-scale distribution sector provoking a decline on the traditional trade. Supermarkets have taken a great space: Wal Mart de México and Mexican Commercial Controller are the main Mexican groups in terms of large-scale distributors. Organización Soriana and Chedraui are provincial chains. 
The concept of mail-order selling and teleshopping is rapidly increasing.

Market access procedures

Economic Cooperation: 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 have signed a trade agreement with 21 other countries in the São Paulo Round of the Global System of Trade Preferences among Developing Countries (GSTP).
For further information, consult the Mexican Trade Agreements.
Mexico is part of the Pacific Alliance
Non tariff barriers: Since Mexico joined the GATT in 1986, there are less products that are subject to an import license. For the products that are still regulated, a permit must be obtained from the Ministry of the Economy .  There is still a large number of particular conditions for textile products.  About 10% of imported goods are checked in detail, especially in the automobile, chemical, pharmaceutical, metallurgical and agricultural sectors.
Origin regulations,  allow goods to benefit from reductions of duty taxes (especially for textiles). However these rules have become more rigorous since Mexico signed the North America Free Trade Agreement NAFTA or TLCAN (in Spanish) . 
The Annex 401 refers to the origin regulations which is part of the country's national legislation.
Average Customs Duty (excluding agricultural products): In 2006, the average tax rate, according to UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development), was of 11.5%. It is a very high rate, when compared to the tax rate applied in other emerging countries such as Brazil, China and Russia.
You can consult the Tariff information system via Internet.
Customs classification: Mexico participates in the Harmonized System of Goods Classification's.
Import procedures: The importing agent is in charge of handling all the formalities and he requests the authorization to allow customs clearance.  It is advised to work with experienced importing agents.

The agent must present an import requisition (issued by the Ministry of the Economy), as well as a commercial invoice, a bill of lading, an exemption permit, and a certificate establishing the origin of the goods so that the corresponding taxes and duties can be applied.

General import taxes depend on the tariff bracket in which the imported goods are classified, in conformity with the Tariff of the General Import and Export Taxes Law or the Mexican Tax  Allowance Table proposed in the free trade treaties. For tax purposes, all Mexican importers must apply and be listed on the “Padrón de Importadores” maintained by the Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit (Hacienda).
Mexico has developed “Sectoral Promotion Programs” (PROSEC) that aims to reduce or eliminate tariffs on several sectors. The gradual elimination and reduction of import duties will conclude in 2013 and the tariff structure will have six basic rates: 0%, 5%, 7%, 10%, 15% and 20%.

In the case of medical devices and health care products, in addition to complying with applicable standards, foreign manufactured products need to have a legally appointed representative/distributor in Mexico and be registered with the Secretariat of Health.

Organizing goods transport

Organizing goods transport to and from: Transportation-logistic services are expensive in Mexico. Transportation of goods by road insures 61% of commercial freight. The road network is vast (355 796 km). Mexico has a modern highway system, primarily comprised of toll roads connecting the main industrial areas located in the Mexico City-Guadalajara-Monterrey triangle. Outside this area, road transportation is fair-to-poor. However, the Mexican government has enacted a program to improve Mexico’s infrastructure,
Maritime international trade goes through the ports of Lazaro Cardenas, Manzanillo, Veracruz, Dos Bocas and Cayo Arcas. All these ports have the infrastructure and equipment to facilitate intermodal, door-to-door merchandise transportation.
The railway is mostly used for transporting large volumes of goods to the main ports and borders. Air transport of goods is going through a difficult period due to the lack of infrastructures and the price of fuel.

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