This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 10/17/2019
Although Mexico is a major producer and exporter of textile products, the Mexican textile sector is so large (and with tariff-free treatment under NAFTA) that it represents a best prospect industry sector for U.S. exporters of specialty fabrics, yarns, and equipment. This section includes a market overview and trade data on the industry.


Mexico is a major textile producer, with an industry based on competitive labor costs and geographic proximity to the United States. U.S. specialty textile producers can capitalize on the large Mexican sector but should understand certain technical requirements, including rules of origin, verification audits, and reference prices.

According to the Mexican National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía or INEGI), 63 percent of the Mexican textile industry is concentrated in the central and north-eastern parts of the country, including Puebla, Mexico City, and the states of Mexico, Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, Guanajuato, Nuevo Leon, and Coahuila. The textile sector represents around 3 percent of Mexico’s GDP.

U.S. Textile Sector Exports to Mexico
(Figures in USD Billions)

201720182019 (Estimated)
Total Textiles & Apparel5.996.351.53
Total Textile Mill Products5.115.361.28
Exchange Rates*18.9119.2219.15
*Original data in USD for 2017, 2018, and annualized 2019 only.
Source: Office of Textiles and Apparel

U.S. Textile Sector Imports from Mexico
(Figures in USD Billions)
 201720182019 (Estimated)
Total Textiles & Apparel2.462.580.66
Non-Apparel Textiles1.631.730.45
Exchange Rates*18.9119.2219.15
*Original data in USD for 2017, 2018, and annualized 2019 only.
Source: Office of Textiles and Apparel, Major Shippers Report, Mexico

Rules of Origin and the NAFTA Certificate of Origin

In line with NAFTA obligations, Mexico has gradually reduced its tariffs on textile imports from the United States that meet the NAFTA rules of origin (i.e., wholly processed in the United States, Canada, or Mexico). Many textile and apparel exporters are not familiar with the rules of origin, or the implications of issuing a NAFTA certificate of origin without knowing if the product qualifies as of NAFTA origin. U.S. exporters should be aware that labeling such as “Made in the USA” is not the same as qualifying for a NAFTA certificate of origin.

Qualification for preferential duty treatment under NAFTA depends on whether the textile may qualify as goods produced in the North America region. NAFTA rules concerning textiles are complex and detailed. For a U.S. product to be eligible for duty-free entry into Mexico or Canada, the product must be produced in the United States, entirely of NAFTA component parts, or if foreign components are used, the foreign component must undergo sufficient processing in the United States to meet the rules of origin as provided in the Chapter Four Annex 401 of NAFTA. Annex 401 aims to ensure that most of the production relating to textiles and apparel occurs in North America. The basic rule of origin is "yarn forward."

The United States–Mexico–Canada agreement (USMCA) will open new opportunities for U.S. exporters in yarns, fabrics and apparel. Details on the agreement can be found in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s USMCA fact sheet on textiles and apparel.

Verification Audits

Since 2012, the Mexican Tax Administration (Servicio de Administración Tributaria or SAT) has been conducting extensive NAFTA verification-of-origin audits for textile and apparel imports. Letters or questionnaires sent by SAT requesting information on a product´s rules of origin should be answered promptly. U.S. exporters must also ensure they keep complete and clear records showing they are complying with SAT’s deadlines. Mexican importers that do not answer may be subject to large fines.

Textile Decree and Reference Prices

Several measures affect Mexican textile importers, and collaterally, U.S. exporters. These measures include an importer registry, the establishment of reference prices (not to be applied to products entering Mexico under a NAFTA Certificate of Origin), and a five-day waiting period for all imports.
Importers of textiles and apparel products must be registered in the Official Registry No.11 for the textile/apparel sector.

Leading Sub-Sectors

The technical textile industry in Mexico is experiencing remarkable growth brought about by increasing domestic demand and the shifting of production. This increase in demand has resulted in demand for greater investments in the technical textile market and is a great opportunity for U.S. exporters to increase their presence in Mexico.

Specialty and Industrial Fabrics

Since 2008, Mexico has been the top export market for U.S. specialty and industrial fabrics. In 2016, U.S. specialty and industrial fabric exports to Mexico accounted for approximately 50 percent of total specialty and industrial textile exports from the United States, representing a 1.13 percent increase over the previous year.

Medical Textiles

Mexico is the largest market for U.S. medical textiles, accounting for 27 percent of the total Mexican textile market share in 2017.


The U.S. Commercial Service in Mexico is happy to assist you in exploring textile and apparel sector opportunities. Due the growth of the automotive and aerospace sectors, industrial fabrics for upholstery and protective fabrics represent an opportunity for U.S. companies. Some opportunities in raw materials include synthetic fibers, fabrics with textured polyester dyes, fabrics with artificial fibers, and fine wool fabrics.

In addition, since Mexican yarn producers cannot meet domestic demand, a significant amount of yarn is imported (mostly polyester/viscose and polyester/cotton), creating niche opportunities for U.S. yarn suppliers.

Finally, the United States is the second-largest supplier of textile machinery to the Mexican market. Medium- and large-sized companies are investing in new technology and machinery to improve their production and supply chains. There are some opportunities in product design and the introduction of modern technology to yarn and textile production processes.

Web Resources

Mexican Apparel Association (CANAIVE)
Mexican Textile Association (CANAINTEX)
Mexican Tax Administration (SAT)
Secretariat of Economy (SE)


  • Exintex 2020, 2020 date TBD, Puebla, Puebla
  • Expo Produccion 2020, 2020 date TBD, Mexico City


For more information on the textiles sector in Mexico, please contact:

Sylvia Montaño
Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service—Mexico City
Tel.: +52 (55) 5080-2000 ext. 5219
Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting

More Information

Mexico Textiles and Apparel Trade Development and Promotion