Importing in US from Mexico: What You Need to Know

According to Forbes magazine, in 2019, Mexico became the leading US trade partner. In 2019, the US imported $358.0 billion worth of goods from Mexico. Have a look at this graph showing US imports from Mexico from 2004 till 2019:

While these numbers make anyone think that the trade game is easy, there are certain things that any US business needs to understand before importing any product from Mexico to US.

Identify the Right Supplier in Mexico

We advise you to use Trademo Intel for searching reliable suppliers from Mexico. Trademo Intel makes it super easy to search for your product-related suppliers and build a potential suppliers list.

Trademo is a SaaS company offering supply chain management and manufacturing software solutions globally. It has records of more than 60 million US Imports Shipments and over 3 million global buyers and suppliers. You can sign up on Trademo Intel for a free trial and type in your product related keyword to get a list of potential overseas suppliers of your product. There are a few other steps to identify the right suppliers in Mexico. Read the complete guide here.

US’s Most Sourced Products from Mexico

One of the biggest reasons to import products from Mexico to US is the United State Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA). This trade agreement allows both the countries to trade eliminating many common barriers and enhances their relationship. Read more about USMCA and its impact on global trade here. Here are the top 3 products imported to US from Mexico:

1. Machinery & Electrical

Over one fifth (22%) of US imports from Mexico are classified as machinery and electrical products — items like televisions, household appliances, and smartphones. Mexico is a major manufacturing hub for some of the largest global brands, including Samsung.

2. Chemicals & Allied industries

Chemical products make up nearly 15% of US imports from Mexico in 2020. This includes household staples like soap, garden fertilizer, and multivitamins. Some of the world’s largest brands source their chemical products from Mexico. Colgate, for example, imports its toothpaste from Monterrey.

3. Vegetable Products

Just over 10% of the US’s 2020 imports from Mexico are classified as vegetable products. A broad category, Vegetable Products includes plant products like fresh-cut flowers, dried fruit, and roasted coffee beans. Beloved by caffeine lovers, Mexican beans account for much of the global supply of coffee, including 60% of the world’s organic coffee. Texas-based Ruta Maya Coffee sells beans are sourced from Chiapas.

Importing to US from Mexico: Rules & Regulations for Different Products

In a vast majority of situations, you won’t need a license to import goods into the United States from Mexico. However, some agencies may require some form of certification for certain products.

For instance, fruits and vegetable imports fall under the jurisdiction of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). To get even more specific, the APHIS National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) deals specifically with importing plants like fruits and vegetables, but the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) also plays a part in enforcing import regulations. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also a regulatory body involved in the process of importing fruits and vegetables into the United States.

If importing machinery into the US, it will be subject to EPA regulations, which means you’ll need to complete EPA form 3520–21. You’ll also need a customs bond. A licensed customs broker can assist with required documents and clearing your goods.

Here’s a complete list of US Import Regulations for Key industries.

Transport Modes for Imports in US from Mexico

When you’re importing goods, you want to minimize the costs of transportation, ensure a speedy delivery, and make sure that your goods arrive in quality condition. The transportation method you choose affects the import process in terms of timeframe and cost. Here are 4 options that you could choose from:


Shipping products by road is one of the most common transportation methods today due to good road infrastructure in the US. It is cost-effective, especially for short distance deliveries. However, shipping may get affected due to traffic or bad weather. In 2019, US land imports from Mexico were valued at around 255.4 billion US dollars.


Vessels such as ships can transport large volumes of goods through waterways. Ocean is the most cost-effective way for transporting large volumes of goods. In 2019, Ocean (Vessel) imports from Mexico were valued at around 33 billion US dollars.


Large volumes of goods can be moved in a short period of time across the railway system of the US. It can be more cost-effective than road transport over long distances. However, locations of rail freight depot can be inconvenient and often paired with road transport. In 2019, US Rail imports from Mexico were valued at around 53 billion US dollars.


The swiftest solution to get products from point Mexico to US, usually taking a few hours. While it reduces lead times on products, it costs the highest than any other mode of transport. It might be susceptible to greater customs checks. This too is often paired with road transport to help items make the rest of the journey. In 2019, US Air imports from Mexico were valued at around 7 billion US dollars i.e.

The above-mentioned pointers should be kept in mind and adhered to when importing from Mexico to US, especially if you are a new importer. As a first step, you can use Trademo Intel to find reliable suppliers in Mexico. Wish you a great success in global trade. For more information on global trade data and how to use our platform, visit our website.

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