In this page: FDI in Figures | What to consider if you invest in Mexico | Protection of Foreign Investment | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Office Real Estate and Land Ownership | Investment Aid | Investment Opportunities | Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer | Finding Assistance For Further Information
Mexico is one of the emerging countries most open to foreign direct investment, the world's ninth largest FDI recipient. In 2021, Mexico was the second largest recipient of in Central America. According to UNCTAD's 2022 World Investment Report, FDI inflows increase by 13% to USD 31.6 billion, with new equity investments in the mining and extractive industries. Furthermore, Greenfield investments increased from 304 in 2020 to 376 in 2021, with the biggest jump being in information and communication. For example, Huawei announced the opening a cloud data centre in Mexico for USD 4.5 billion. The total stock of FDI is estimated to have reached USD 578 billion in 2021. Overall, FDI inflows were affected by rising uncertainty over the government's economic agenda, its focus on fiscal austerity, and the slump in fixed investment. These factors were compounded by persistent concerns about the current administration's critical stance on public-private partnerships (PPPs) and the role of the private sector in key industries, together with the financial situation of the state-owned oil company Pemex and the massive assistance it receives from the government (valued at USD 3.5 billion). Besides, shifts in the five-year plan and in the policy of CFE, the state electricity supplier, discouraged private investment in public utilities and contributed to a 67% drop in FDI in electricity generation, transmission and distribution.
Investments mostly come from the United States, Canada, Spain, Japan, and Germany. The sectors receiving significant foreign investment are manufacturing (especially the automobile industry), financial and insurance services, transport, retail and wholesale trade, mining and quarrying, and communication. Foreign investments are mostly concentrated in towns neighbouring the U.S border (where many assembly factories are located), as well as in the capital. Thanks to its robust tourism industry, the Yucatan Peninsula also receives substantial foreign investment. FDI flows to the country fluctuate strongly depending on the arrival and departure of large international groups.
As a member of USMCA, OECD, G20, and the Pacific Alliance, Mexico is very well integrated into the world economic order, making it an attractive country for FDI. Additionally, Mexico enjoys a strategic location, a big domestic market, a wide variety of natural resources, a relatively well-qualified workforce and diversified economy. However, in recent years, Mexico's competitiveness has suffered from the rise of organised crime and lack of reforms in the energy sector and in tax regulations. Corruption and administrative inefficiency have also been major issues and the business climate continues to suffer from safety risks in the country. According to the Economist Business Environment, Mexico ranks 42 out of the 82 countries reviewed for their investment climate. Among the biggest investments that occurred in recent years is the purchase of Mexican bank ABC Capital by Argentine fintech Ualá, in 2021. However, the value of the transaction was not disclosed.
|Foreign Direct Investment||2020||2021||2022|
|FDI Inward Flow (million USD)||28,195||31,543||35,292|
|FDI Stock (million USD)||544,430||592,221||649,287|
|Number of Greenfield Investments*||306||378||482|
|Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD)||13,941||17,167||41,042|
Source: UNCTAD, Latest data available.
Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.
|Main Investing Countries||2020, in %|
|Main Invested Sectors||2020, in %|
|Financial and insurance services||23.2|
|Wholesale and retail trade||7.7|
|Mining and quarrying||4.6|
Source: Ministry of Economy (in Spanish), Latest data available.
Mexico attracts the most FDI in Central and South America:
There are still many obstacles to investment in Mexico:
The Mexican government has created an open and secure environment for foreign investors. The ‘Invest in Mexico’ Business Center was established in 2022 to facilitate investments. Land grants or discounts, tax deductions, and technology, innovation, and workforce development funding are commonly used incentives.
Other incentives to encourage foreign investment include:
|Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors||Mexico||Latin America & Caribbean||United States||Germany|
|Index of Transaction Transparency*||8.0||4.1||7.0||5.0|
|Index of Manager’s Responsibility**||5.0||5.2||9.0||5.0|
|Index of Shareholders’ Power***||5.0||6.7||9.0||5.0|
Source: The World Bank - Doing Business, Latest data available.
For more information, see the text of the the Mexican foreign investment law governing such limitations.
The laws restricting or regulating certain takeovers and mergers are the following:
Special Economic Zones (Zonas Económicas Especiales or ZEEs) are now entirely under state jurisdiction. As of April 2020, there are only two federal ZEE-style projects being developed where fiscal incentives would apply. These are the Trans-Isthmic Interoceanic Corridor and the Chetumal State border area.
The following activities can only be carried out by the Mexican government:
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Latest Update: September 2023