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General Information

Mexico’s USD 1.1 trillion annual GDP makes it the second largest economy in Latin America and the 15th largest economy in the world. Mexico has a large, diversified, economy, and is the most complex export economy in Latin America. Mexico is currently party to 12 free trade agreements with 44 countries, ranked number one in the world. Close to 90% of Mexican exports and 50% of its imports are traded with the United States and Canada.

Mexico Imports


MXN - Mexican Peso


Lending Rate

source: tradingeconomics.com

Corruption Perception Index

Scoring: 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean)

2016 Rank   |   2016 Score   |   2015 Score   |   2014 Score   |   2013 Score   |   2012 Score

      123                             30                               31                            35                        34                                  34

Source: Transparency International

Banking Standard

CLABE (Clave Bancaria Estandarizada)

Business Practice

The Business Experience

General Advice

  • Confirm the bank making the payments is an approved bank so you don't run into Anti-Money Laundering (AML) issues. Mexican regulations do not require that enhanced due diligence be performed for correspondent banking relationships.
  • Companies tend to avoid bank financing, so look to suppliers as their source of financing/working capital.
  • It is extremely helpful if you can visit your customers. It shows that you care about them and to view appearance of property, confirm number of employees, meet with owners to establish relationship and ask questions. They will remember the personal connection when payment is due. The Mexican culture is such that they are family oriented; they are hard working and honest. A big issue is that many companies are undercapitalized and need to get paid before they can pay. Cash flow issues as bank borrowing rates prohibit them from getting the financing that they need.

See more advice from FCIB members in the Credit & Collections survey of Mexico.

Doing Business in Mexico – FCIB Webinar

Import Requirements

Customs Documentation Overview

Mexico requires import and export documentation including a completed "pedimento," or import/export form, for all commercial crossings. This document must be accompanied by a commercial invoice (in Spanish), a bill of lading, documents demonstrating guarantee of payment of additional duties for undervalued goods, if applicable, and documents demonstrating compliance with Mexican product safety and performance regulations, if applicable. The import documentation may be prepared and submitted by a licensed Mexican customs house broker or by an importer with sufficient experience in completing the documents.

Customs Documents

  • Import Application (Pedimento de importación) - The basic Mexican import document is the "pedimento de importación." 
  • Entry Summary 
  • Certificate of Origin (CoO) - Products qualifying as North American must use the NAFTA Certificate of Origin in order to receive preferential treatment. This must be in Spanish, completed by the exporter and does not have to be validated or formalized.
  • Commercial Invoice (CI) 
  • Freight Document 
  • Packing List (P/L)
  • Customs Export Declaration
  • Electronic Value Voucher/COVE number (Comprobante de Valor Electrotico)
  • Additional Documents - guarantee of payment of additional duties for undervalued goods; product safety and performance regulation compliance documents

Official Register of Importers (Padrón de Importadores)

For tax purposes, all Mexican importers must apply and be listed in the Official Register of Importers (Padrón de Importadores), maintained by the Secretariat of Treasury and Public Finance (SHCP). In addition, the Secretariat of Treasury and Public Finance maintains special sector registries. To be eligible to import more than 400 different items, including agricultural products, textiles, chemicals, electronics, and auto parts, Mexican importers must apply to the Secretariat of Treasury and Public Finance to be listed on these special industry sector registries.

Import Regulations/Customs Brokers

Beginning in 2015, any Mexican importer in the Official Register of Importers can be in charge of all of their own import paperwork and compliance with Mexico's customs regulations. Use of a customs broker for import transactions is no longer a requirement. 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. As a result, a customs broker’s services may still be needed for the import process. U.S. exporters are advised to ensure that Mexican clients employ competent, reputable Mexican importers or customs house brokers. Because customs brokers are subject to sanctions if they violate customs laws, some have been very restrictive in their interpretation of Mexican regulations and standards.

Source: US Department of Commerce


Commercial Pledge

A commercial pledge (Prenda)protects the creditor against third parties that claim an interest in the collateral, allows the creditor to foreclose on the property and apply all proceeds to the outstanding debt, and grants preference against a bankruptcy trustee and all other creditor types including tax claims. A pledge or trust agreement granted over movable property must be in writing and registered with the federal personal property collateral registry (Registro Único de Garantías Mobiliarias or RUG).

Under the RUG, collateral may be pledged in three ways:

  1. Ninguno – All products that are being sold by the customer/debtor
  2. Bienes específicos – Assets that can be specifically identified
  3. Todos los bienes de la empresa – All assets that are currently owned

Compliance requires:

  1. Three documents, written in Spanish
    1. A non-possessory pledge signed by the debtor
    2. A credit application
    3. A promissory note
  2. Authentication of the debtor’s identity by a Mexican notary public
  3. A copy of the debtor’s articles of incorporation, federal tax registration and electronic registry numbers.
  4. The completed, signed and notarized pledge agreement recorded in the public registry.

Non-Possessory Pledge

The equivalent of a non-possessory lien, a non-possessory pledge is the legal claim against an asset in order to secure payment of the debtor's obligation. In a non-possessory pledge the creditor does not hold physical possession of the asset in question, only a legal right.

Collateral Trust

The collateral, or guarantee, secures payment by transferring into trust all types of assets (real property, moveable assets and rights). Through a trust agreement, the borrower transfers title to a trustee in order to secure payment for the goods. Should a default occur, the creditor (beneficiary) can foreclose on the collateral by requesting that the trustee execute the trust’s assets to pay the outstanding debt.

Floating Lien Pledge

A non-possessory pledge, the floating lien pledge allows the debtor to pledge its inventory and receivables to the creditor without transfer of the property. This pledge allows the debtor to sell or use the pledged property and assets in the normal course of business without the need to secure permission from the creditor. The debtor can also submit newly acquired assets as collateral without requiring additional filing. A floating lien pledge can be documented and registered in the Sole Guarantee Registry (Registro Único de Garantías Mobiliarias) (SGR) making it enforceable against third parties.

Conditional Sale (venta con cláusula rescisoria)

The sale of goods according to a contract containing conditions, typically that ownership does not pass to the buyer until after a set time, usually after payment of the last installment of the purchase price, although the buyer has possession and is committed to acquiring ownership. U.S. exporters that have entered into a valid contract with their Mexican customer may enforce the contract of conditional sale in Mexican court to secure payment and damages. However, if the contract was executed without a promissory note or similar security, obtaining a judgment can often take several years and no lien is placed on the debtor’s assets pending the resolution.

Pagarés (Promissory Note)

The pagaré is the equivalent of the “promissory note”. It is a simple document where a debtor unconditionally promises to pay his creditor a certain amount of money. While the pagaré is not theoretically a security device (in the sense that it creates a security interest in certain collateral), it does add some level of security to a creditor that is looking to make a loan.


  • Access to executive proceeding - The pagaré grants a privileged legal action to creditors. By supporting your claim on a pagaré (instead of a loan or sales agreement), you gain access to an executive proceeding which will generally take less time to reach judgment (from 1 to 2 years), as opposed to the ordinary proceeding, which takes anywhere from 1 to 4 years.
  • Immediate attachment – A pagaré provides the creditor the opportunity to obtain a writ of attachment following the filing of the complaint pleading, which allows him to seize assets from his debtor immediately without the need for a bond.
  • Legal presumption of debt - The unconditional nature of the promise inserted to the pagare turns most burdens of proof on debtors during proceedings.

Further Reading: “Pledges and Pagarés in Mexico”, Romelio Hernandez, HMH Legal, Business Credit Magazine (Part One) (Part Two)

Personal Guarantee (Aval)

An aval is a personal guarantee granted by a third party (usually the customer’s bank) and is a promise to pay a negotiable instrument in case of default by the obligor. Under an aval, the customer is considered jointly and severally liable with the obliger and the creditor may collect payment directly from the bank without exercising rights against the customer.

Title Retention Contract (venta con reserva de dominio)

In a Title Retention Contract the buyer holds physical possession of the goods while the seller retains the title until the buyer has paid in full. Only when the debt is cancelled will the buyer be considered the owner of the movable property or real estate. While the buyer has the goods in their possession, use is contingent upon permission from the seller and the buyer takes on the risks of loss or damage.

Cross Corporate Guarantee

Difficult to pierce corporate veil in Mexico so a Cross Corporate (Parent) Guarantee is recommended. Sample Cross Corporate Guarantee

Payment Methods

Lending rates in Mexico range from 8 to 18% per year

  • Open Account
  • Secured
  • Cash In Advance
  • Confirmed Letter of Credit
    • Letters of Credit in Mexico are expensive. Local banks charge a commission of 3 to 4% plus additional charges that can go from $10 to $30 dollars per LC depending on the bank. The National Bank for Foreign Trade (BANCOMEXT) offers letters of credit to Mexican Importers.
  • Wire Transfer
  • Documents Against Payment (D/P) & Documents Against Acceptance (D/A) 

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce – Financing U.S. Exports

Financing Tools & Resources

Financing Tools

  • Export Finance by US Commercial Bank (USD (dollar) denominated)
  • Import Finance by Mexican Bank (MXN (peso) denominated)
  • Lines of Credit Available from Mexican Development Banks


For U.S. Exporters

USDA Export Credit Guarantee Program (GSM-102) – (Agriculture) Covers credit terms up to three (3) years. Under the GSM-102 & GSM-103 programs, the Commodity Credit Corporation guarantees payments due from foreign banks—typically, 98% of principal and a portion of interest at an adjustable rate. Because repayment is guaranteed, U.S. financial institutions can offer credit on competitive terms to foreign banks, usually with interest rates based on the LIBOR. The GSM-103 program guarantees longer term credit up to 10 years.

In Mexico

National Financial (Nafin/Nainsa) – Mexico’s EXIM equivalent

Bancomext – Mexico’s development bank in charge of financing international trade.

Trusted FCIB Legal and Collections Providers

Galicia Abrogados – Law Firm covering Latin America specializing in Banking & Finance, Capital Markets, Debt Restructuring & Insolvency, Tax, and Insurance.

HMH Legal – Law firm specializing in credit management and debt collection in Mexico.