Best Prospect sector includes market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 10/12/2018
The agriculture sector is large, diversified, and heavily integrated with the United States, making it a best-prospect industry sector for U.S. companies in Mexico. This section includes a market overview and trade data.

Overview

Mexico remained the United States’ third largest agricultural partner in 2017. U.S. agricultural and related product exports totaled USD 19.5 billion and accounted for nearly 12.3 percent of total U.S. exports in the sector and 65 percent of Mexico’s total agricultural imports. The United States remains Mexico’s principal agricultural trading partner, receiving USD 25.5 billion, or almost 78 percent, of Mexico’s total agricultural exports. Overall U.S. market share in Mexico has remained high, as geographic advantages continue to make the United States the best supplier for most major agricultural goods. However, Mexico has been active in looking for alternate sources of supply given bilateral trade uncertainties.
 

Selected Agricultural Exports from the United States to Mexico in 2017
(Figures in USD millions)


 

Product

Value

Corn

2,651.7

Soybeans

1,568.2

Dairy products

1,312.3

Poultry meat & products

932.6

Wheat

854.7

Soybean meal

579.1

Sugar/sweeteners

664.8

Fresh Fruit

570.4

Vegetable Oils

412.1

Processed vegetables

309.1

Rice

291.7

Snack foods

282.9

Tree Nuts

256.2

Eggs & products

169.4

Wine & beer

170.1

 

Source: U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Trade System (BICO Report)

Leading Sub-Sectors

The United States enjoys a commanding market share for several sub-sectors. Below are short summaries of key subsectors of the agricultural market in Mexico. They are dairy, beef, pork, poultry, soybeans, corn, wheat, and fresh fruit including apples, pears, and grapes. Additional information on each of these topics is available on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) at https://gain.fas.usda.gov/.

Mexico Dairy Products* Market Overview
(Figures in thousands of metric tons)
Indicator201620172018p
Total Local Production12,89813,06313,217
Total Domestic Consumption13,38113,53313,711
Total U.S. Exports to Mexico522545574
Total U.S. Imports from Mexico557380

                                                                                                     *Aggregate of all dairy products
                                                                                                       p = Projected data
                                                                                                      Source: Foreign Agricultural Service's Production, Supply and Distribution (PSD) online database

Mexico is the number one export market for U.S. dairy products. Although Mexico’s domestic industry has experienced production growth, the country is a milk production-deficit nation and will continue to be an attractive market for dairy and dairy product exporters from the United States. The dairy processing industry competes for inputs and uses dairy imports to close the gap between demand and production. Import diversification is on the horizon given the Mexico-European Union FTA modernization and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTTP). Industry continues to watch NAFTA negotiations closely. For future developments and information on eventual agreements, check the Fact Sheets and NAFTA pages at the Office of United States Trade Representative (www.ustr.gov).

The Government of Mexico has a subsidized milk program, called Liconsa, for the neediest segment of their population. This government-owned and operated subsidized milk program has eleven thousand outlets across Mexico, serving more than six million of the neediest consumers.

Mexico Beef Meat Market Overview
(Figures in thousands of metric tons CWE*)

 

Indicator201620172018p
Total Local Production1,8791,9251,960
Total Domestic Consumption1,8091,8411,860
Total U.S. Exports to Mexico188196205
Total U.S. Imports from Mexico258280305

                                                                                                     *Carcass-Weight Equivalent (CWE)
                                                                                                       p = Projected data
                                                                                                      Source: Foreign Agricultural Service's Production, Supply and Distribution (PSD) online database

Mexico Pork Meat Market Overview
(Figures in thousands of metric tons CWE*)

 

Indicator201620172018p
Total Local Production1,2111,2671,305
Total Domestic Consumption2,0912,1802,325
Total U.S. Exports to Mexico1,0211,0831,200
Total U.S. Imports from Mexico141170180
                                                                                     

                                                                                                       *Carcass-Weight Equivalent (CWE)
                                                                                                         p = Projected data
                                                                                                        Source: Foreign Agricultural Service's Production, Supply and Distribution (PSD) online database


From Halal certification for beef to U.S. recognition of Mexico as free of Classical Swine Fever, Mexico’s livestock industry enters 2018 with continued growth and new opportunities. Production is expected to increase across the board, and high integration between the United States and Mexico persists in both the beef and cattle industries. The livestock industry remains closely tuned in to the ongoing and concluded trade negotiations, from the Mexico-European Union free trade agreement to NAFTA and the CPTPP.
 

The United States has historically held most of the market for beef imports into Mexico, followed at a distance by Canada. Poultry remains the overall preferred animal protein, a preference based principally on price that is also favoring increased pork demand.

The United States has similarly historically dominated Mexican pork imports. Pork is consumed daily in a variety of dishes, including “tacos al pastor,” a traditional taco made with pork and pineapple. Imported pork not only goes to retail and consumers, but also to meat processors for use in processed meat products such as sausage and ham (deli-meat).

Mexico Poultry Meat Market Overview
(Figures in thousands of metric tons CWE*)

 
Indicator201620172018p
Total Local Production3,2753,4003,500
Total Domestic Consumption4,0614,1984,314
Total U.S. Exports to Mexico791804820
Total U.S. Imports from Mexico566

                                                                                                     *Carcass-Weight Equivalent (CWE)
                                                                                                        p = Projected data
                                                                                                       Source: Foreign Agricultural Service's Production, Supply and Distribution (PSD) online database

Strong growth is expected in the poultry and egg sectors for 2018, building on recent expansion and vertical integration. Producers monitor the NAFTA negotiations, while Mexico seeks to diversify import and export destinations through other Free Trade Agreements and economic agreements. Most of imports in all poultry sectors continue to originate from the United States, while exports by Mexico are limited.

Mexico Soybean Market Overview
(Figures in thousands of metric tons)

 
Indicator201620172018p
Total Local Production521433490
Total Domestic Consumption4,6354,9055,085
Total U.S. Exports to Mexico4,1264,4004,650
Total U.S. Imports from Mexico000
 

                                                                                                        p = Projected data
                                                                                                       Source: Foreign Agricultural Service's Production, Supply and Distribution (PSD) online database


The United States serves as the main exporter and supplier of soybeans to Mexico. Growth in Mexico’s livestock sector has driven growth in demand for U.S. soybeans in recent years. Soybeans are generally imported and crushed in Mexico for use as edible oil for human consumption and soy meal for livestock feed. We expect growth to slow slightly in this sector over the coming year, given potential declines in consumer purchasing power and general economic uncertainty. Mexican oilseed crushers are expected to continue increasing oil production to keep up with population growth and meal demand, but there is no expected expansion in production capacity.

Mexico Fresh Fruit* Market Overview
(Figures in thousands of metric tons)


 

Indicator201620172018p
Total Local Production1,0351,4161,450
Total Domestic Consumption1,1111,4041,431
Total U.S. Exports to Mexico333344377
Total U.S. Imports from Mexico156176221

                                                                                                      *Includes apples, pears, and grapes
                                                                                                       p = Projected data
                                                                                                       Source: Foreign Agricultural Service's Production, Supply and Distribution (PSD) online database

The United States is the largest supplier of apples, pears, and grapes to the Mexican market, and this trend is projected to continue. Apple import levels depend heavily on the peso to dollar exchange rate; nonetheless, the U.S. apple industry has retained its dominant market position by successfully marketing American apples through in-store promotions. The domestic supply of pears is stocked through imports, primarily from the United States. Wholesale markets remain the most important fruit distribution channel for U.S. pears. Pear consumption is expected to increase in 2018 compared to the previous year, despite higher import prices.

Mexico is an important market for grapes from the United States, Chile, and, more recently, Peru. The volume of Mexican grapes on the local market depends on export volumes, as producers tend to supply the international market before the domestic market. Promotional efforts have increased consumption, leading to greater domestic production and imports, of which 70 percent are of U.S. origin.


Mexico Corn Market Overview
(Figures in thousands of metric tons)

Indicator201620172018p
Total Local Production27,57526,80026,000
Total Domestic Consumption40,40042,30043,200
Total U.S. Exports to Mexico14,56916,20016,700
Total U.S. Imports from Mexico1,5391,3001,500
                                                                                                         p = Projected data
                                                                                                         Source: Foreign Agricultural Service's Production, Supply and Distribution (PSD) online database



Mexico Wheat Market Overview
(Figures in thousands of metric tons)
Indicator201620172018p
Total Local Production3,8653,4942,800
Total Domestic Consumption7,9007,7507,800
Total U.S. Exports to Mexico5,3705,2005,600
Total U.S. Imports from Mexico1,1191,000800
                                                                                                         p = Projected data
                                                                                                         Source: Foreign Agricultural Service's Production, Supply and Distribution (PSD) online database


Mexico is the top export destination for U.S. corn, wheat, and rice, as well as being an important market for U.S. sorghum—despite also being a producer of these grains. Overall, Mexican grain imports continue to increase, driven by growth in animal feed demand (particularly for corn) and increase in demand for wheat-based breads and baked goods.

Beginning in 2017, the Mexican government made a well-publicized effort to reduce dependence on U.S. imports of grains. Mexico made increased purchases of grains from other origins, and the trend of increased competition is likely to remain. However, the United States remains the primary supplier of grains to Mexico, benefiting from proximity and well-established commercial ties.

Opportunities

The U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service in Mexico is happy to assist you in exploring market opportunities. With the rising trend in healthier eating, demand for organic food products in Mexico has grown in recent years because Mexican consumers perceive organic foods as being healthier than conventional foods. Presently, Mexico has some of the world’s highest indexes for obesity and diabetes, especially among children. The Mexican Government has made it a priority to reverse this through educational campaigns, new processed food labeling norms and food nutrition laws that target school children. As a result, a growing number of Mexican consumers are pursuing healthier lifestyles, which include better eating habits, making Mexico an attractive market for American exporters of healthy and/or organic food products. 

The developing wine culture in Mexico creates an attractive market for U.S. wine exporters. Expanding consumer interest in wine and a thriving middle class have contributed to the expansion of this industry. Market analysts estimate an annual growth rate of 12 percent in consumption in the coming years. Furthermore, analysts rank Mexico among the countries with the fastest growing wine consumption in the world.

 

Mexico’s transition to more wine consumption over other alcoholic beverages, increased interest among different consumer sectors (i.e., women and young adults), and growing interest among consumers in trying novel wines has also led to new opportunities for wine exports from the United States.

For further information about best prospects for foods in Mexico, please see USDA’s country Exporter Guide. For additional information about specific market entry sectors, see the Retail Foods, Food Processing Ingredients, or Food Service reports. These and many other useful reports are available at https://gain.fas.usda.gov/.

Major Agricultural Exports from the United States to Mexico
(Figures in USD millions) 


 

Product201520162017
Bulk Products   
Corn2,1992,5412,587.7
Soybeans1,831.11,3661,606.6
Wheat675528.4922.8
Cotton330.3333.5400.6
Rice301.3257.8288.5
Intermediate Products   
Sugar, sweeteners, bev. bases654.1613.9623.3
Soybean meal775.6820611.9
Distillers grains345.7357.1360.7
Animal fats260.8231.8225.2
Planting seeds237.1297258.4
Consumer Oriented Products   
Dairy products1,346.71,186.41,349.7
Pork & pork products1,3261,2831,521.4
Poultry meat &products1,114.6948.1922.8
Beef & beef products1,111.41,020.5968.5
Prepared food693.8726.9695.5
Agricultural Related Products   
Forest products702.4704.8703.9
Ethanol (non-bev.)69.957.654.3
Fish products50.363.457.6
Distilled spirits43.747.338.8
Biodiesel (B100 equiv.)7.317.618.3
Totals   
Agricultural products18,00517,617.918,608.2
Agricultural & related products18,878.618,508.519,481.2
 

Web Resources

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)
USDA DAS Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS)
USDA FAS Production, Supply and Distribution online data base (PSD) online database
USDA Global Agriculture Information Network (GAIN) website

Events

  • Confitexpo (Confectionary), July 31–August 3, 2018, Guadalajara, Jalisco
  • ABASTUR (Hospitality), August 28–31, 2018, Mexico City
  • Agro Baja (Agriculture and Fishing), March 2019, Mexicali, Baja California
  • ANTAD & Alimentaria (Retail, Food and Beverage), March 5-7, 2019, Guadalajara, Jalisco
  • ExpoHoReCa (Hospitality industry), October 03–05, 2018, Cancun, Quintana Roo
  • Expo Restaurantes (Restaurants), June 2018, Mexico City, Mexico
 

Contacts

For more information on Agricultural sectors in Mexico, please contact:

Agricultural Trade Office - Mexico City

Tel.: + 52 55 5080 2000 ext. 5282

atomexico@fas.usda.gov

 

Agricultural Trade Office – Monterrey

Tel.: + 52 81 8047 3232

atomonterrey@fas.usda.gov

 

Office of Agricultural Affairs – Mexico City

Tel.: + 52 55 5080 2532

agmexico@fas.usda.gov

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 http://export.gov/usoffices.



Mexico Agribusiness Trade Development and Promotion