Mexico is the second-largest export market for U.S.-produced goods ($240 billion in 2014), as well as for goods produced in Wisconsin ($2.8 billion in 2014). In the first half of 2015, trends showed Mexican imports from the U.S. increasing another 3.9 percent over the same period the prior year. Trade pathways between the U.S. and Mexico are well-traveled; a long history, geographic proximity and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) also make Mexico a relatively easy market to enter for companies that are new to exporting.
In February 2016, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will be leading a global trade venture to Mexico. Wisconsin companies, whether new to exporting or looking to expand their exports into Mexico, are invited to participate in this program. The cities included in the program, Guadalajara and Mexico City, are the two largest cities in Mexico. In each city, participants will be scheduled for one-on-one meetings with potential partners in the market. These partners are hand-picked for each participating company.
Each participant in the global trade venture will also receive a Mexico market assessment specific to his or her company, detailing considerations they should keep in mind when introducing their product or service into the market. WEDC has eyes and ears on the ground in Mexico, in the form of Wisconsin’s authorized trade representatives—thus making it easier for Wisconsin companies to find local partners they can trust, and taking some of the guesswork out of launching in a new market. With all your appointments arranged for you, you can focus on business rather than logistics and scheduling.
Mexico is a major importer of raw materials, components and commodities, both for the maquiladora facilities of U.S. manufacturers and for local industrial and consumer demand, with particularly strong demand in the advanced manufacturing; aerospace (manufacturing, engineering, service, and research and development); energy, power and control; water technology; bioscience; and food and beverage.
Mexico’s top 10 import categories—including industrial and electrical machinery; vehicles and vehicle components; electrical, optical and medical equipment; plastics, meats and cereals—overlap significantly with Wisconsin’s top export categories. Even if a given product can be found less expensively in the market, U.S.-made products are seen as a good value, and customers are willing to pay more for quality. Services in areas such as construction, engineering, manufacturing, environmental and water are in demand across Mexico. In addition, the Mexican government’s investments at the federal, state and municipal levels in developing and improving infrastructure—such as communication systems, highways, airports and water supply—create opportunities for Wisconsin companies.
Mexico City is the nation’s capital and also the largest city in Mexico, with more than 24 million people in the surrounding state—an area that is 14 percent of Wisconsin’s size with more than four times the population. The state is responsible for one-quarter of Mexico’s GDP and nearly 20 percent of its population. Major industries include manufacturing, automotive components, chemicals, agricultural equipment and aerospace. The metropolitan area is home to many corporations’ worldwide or regional headquarters, and is a key economic driver for the country.
Guadalajara, in the state of Jalisco on Mexico’s Pacific coast, has a population of 7.3 million in an area less than half the size of Wisconsin. Manufacturing, automotive and mining are key industries. Wisconsin has a sister state agreement with Jalisco, and the two states have a strong agricultural connection, especially with respect to dairy products, livestock genetics and animal feed. Additionally, Jalisco is described as the Silicon Valley of Mexico, with a recent increase in high-tech companies and data storage facilities.