Although the Mexican government is immersed in the new Comprehensive Transpacific and Progressive Partnership Agreement (CPTPP), as part of the process to diversify international markets, during the last 23 years, 80% of exports Mexicans have concentrated in the United States with everything and the preferential access that Mexican products have today in more than 40 countries.

For example, sales to the European market in 2000 (when the trade agreement with that region came into force), represented 3.4% of total exports and by the end of 2016 only rose to 5.1%.

Similar situation occurred with exports to Japan: From the year 2005 (when the agreement with that country entered into operations), to 2016, they only rose from 0.68 to 1.0% of the total.

Even numerous export quotas (specific volumes of tariff-free products) have been left uncovered in various fiscal years. An example of these have been the quotas for the export of pork and orange juice to the Japanese market.

That is, while the Mexican government carries out the efforts to promote the TPP, while developing the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the productive sector of the country does not take advantage of the extensive network of agreements of free trade that Mexico has.

The era of the FTAs

With the entry into force of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), in 1994, Mexico formally began the opening of its economy. The country was positioned as a strategic partner of the United States and Canada. With this, North America was postulated as one of the most competitive regions of the planet.

In the first year of the agreement, Mexican exports increased from 51 thousand 886 million dollars to 60 thousand 882 million (from 1993 to 1994), which meant an annual increase of 17.3%. Only the sales to the US market grew 20.2 in that period and with it concentrated 84% of Mexican exports. Only 2.5% was allocated to Canada.

Against this background, for the Mexican authorities (Secretariat of Commerce and Industrial Development, Secofi, at that time), it was clear that the way forward was free trade.

Therefore, in 1995 the FTA was signed with Colombia and Venezuela (known at that time as the G3), although in November the Venezuelan economy withdrew from the agreement.

Four years later (in 1999), the agreement with Chile entered into force. However, despite the preferential access already enjoyed by Mexican products in the Canadian, Venezuelan, Colombian and Chilean markets, exports to the American Union already accounted for 88.2% of the total.

The Mexican government, in order to promote a diversification of international markets and reduce dependence on the United States, streamlined the treaty strategy and targeted two of the world’s main markets: Europe and Japan.

Even so, the strategy of signing more trade agreements went ahead and by the end of 2016 Mexico has already accumulated 11 similar treaties with 46 countries: the United States, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Israel, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Slovakia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy and Latvia.

As well as Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Romania, Sweden, United Kingdom, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Uruguay, Japan, Peru, Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Preferential access

Nowadays, Mexican products have preferential access to a potential market of one billion consumers in three continents of the world (America, Asia and Europe), which represent 60% of world GDP.

In this way, with data to 2016, Mexican exports totaled 373 thousand 939 million dollars, which represented an increase of six times the amount reported in 1994 (when the first NAFTA came into force).

Currently, foreign trade represents 64% of the national GDP, according to the World Bank.

Fernando Ruiz Huarte, director of the Mexican Council of Foreign Trade (COMCE), recognizes that the border of more than three thousand 200 kilometers with the United States is a radical incentive for the productive sector to concentrate on concentrating its exports to the US market.

However, he admits that this sensitive dependence entails high dangers, such as precisely granting a political position to the US president, Donald Trump, to launch pressure and threats that he will withdraw the United States from NAFTA. Therefore, it is in favor of diversifying the destination of exports.

On the other hand, Juan Antonio Barragán, advisor of the Intrade Consulting firm in Foreign Trade and Customs, considers that the diversification of exports requires a deep public policy that goes from training to


One of the main challenges that professionals in foreign trade have today is to maintain the balance of operations while exploring new markets; However, there will be changes in the laws derived from what will be the new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or the operations that can be carried under the World Trade Organization (WTO), said Daniel Guzmán Santander, Director of the National Center for the Competitiveness of Foreign Trade (CENCOMEX).

“Either the new NAFTA or the WTO, but we must be prepared to operate under the new customs rules that the 21st century brings us towards the end of this second decade; This is one of our goals when organizing the meeting of customs specialists in Mexico City (CDMX) next week, “said Guzmán Santander.

He explained that CENCOMEX is the institution that integrates specialists in foreign trade and customs, composed of academics, specialists and scholars of Customs Law and Foreign Trade that generate research, information and specialized training committed to the economic development of Mexico.

“In the meeting of customs specialists that next week will meet at the CDMX, will be analyzed in 16 panels and with the vision of 30 experts the changes in Foreign Trade expected,” said Guzmán Santander.

For his part, Carlos Novoa Mandujano member of the Mexican Trade Board, said that, “today is the time to diversify markets, and to make an inventory and diagnosis of the foreign trade processes of our companies and learn to trade foreign trade with other nations – in addition to the United States (EU).

“Given the insecurity that NAFTA represents today for Mexican businessmen, there is uncertainty about what foreign trade is going through; hence the importance of possible assumptions to this agreement. Each entrepreneur must study the new processes or scenarios of each company in particular; carry out procurement and export analysis with the new rules, be it NAFTA or WTO, “said Novoa Mandujano.

He stressed that, “in effect, we are part of an emerging meeting of customs specialists, with the most select experts in foreign trade, customs legislation and tax law to analyze and be able to meet the challenges in customs they will be presented to Mexican businessmen in whatever the modification or abrogation of the free trade agreement with the US through CENCOMEX in the CDMX. “


The General Director of the National Foreign Trade Bank (Bancomext), Francisco González Díaz, participated in the China-Latin America and the Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum, which took place in the city of Zhuhai, with the purpose of attracting investments from the Asian country in strategic sector in Mexico.

In a statement, the Bancomext said that in that forum, which aims to promote trade and business cooperation between the two regions, topics such as economic and trade cooperation, ideas and measures to increase imports from Latin America and investment cooperation opportunities were discussed. in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Mexican financial institution, together with the Development Bank of China, seeks to develop mechanisms to provide financing to potential Chinese investors. Likewise, the procedures for Bancomext to finance projects originated in China or even to act as guarantor for the issuance of payment instruments, so that Chinese banks grant projects are explored.

In the framework of a working tour of the Asian nation, González Díaz held meetings with Chinese and Latin American officials. In the event, it was highlighted that Mexico is working to achieve a greater commercial approach with China, whose economy has represented 30 percent of the global Gross Domestic Product in recent years.

On behalf of the Asian country, the intention is to increase investment to 250 billion dollars in Latin America and the Caribbean during the next decade. According to the report, Bancomext has sought to strengthen the business relationship with that Asian country through closer ties of cooperation via the exchange of information and seeking opportunities with the main institutions of development and banking.

He referred mainly to the Export and Import Bank of China; China Development Bank and China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation-Sinosure; and negotiations are being held to sign agreements with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and the Bank of China.