Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Doing Business in Mexico

Zimmermann, Thomas A. (2002): Doing Business in Mexico. Published in:

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On 1 July 2001, a far-reaching free trade agreement between the EFTA States and Mexico entered into force. ”Doing Business in Mexico” provides targeted assistance to Swiss Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) that wish to tap the potential of Mexico as both an export destination and investment location. This comprehensive guide contains information and advice on market research, market entry, and investment in this fascinating country.

Part I introduces the reader to this fascinating country, its long history, its politics and its economy. It becomes clear that Mexico is undergoing a deep transition from a country with one party rule and a closed economy to a pluralist democracy and a major player in the world economy. This situation offers excellent opportunities, provided it is approached appropriately and precautions are taken to minimise risks. Business persons interested in establishing a business relationship with Mexico should take the time to familiarise themselves with the historical and political evolution (Chapter 2) and the economic environment (Chapter 3) of Mexico.

Part II focuses on core business aspects: Chapter 4 on market research is conceived as a navigator to help Swiss SME representatives retrieve targeted information. Fortunately, many Mexican institutions, public and private, have invested heavily into their websites: Industry-specific data, business directories or market access information are readily available and constitute a formidable online information resource on the Mexican economy that is only a few mouse clicks away. In Chapter 5, the pros and cons of different market entry modes are discussed, and advice is given with regard to successful partnering in Mexico – probably one of the most important factors for foreign firms in the Mexican market. Chapter 6 contains a guide to exporting, including some technicalities of the export business. We hope that the information contained therein will assist you in getting your goods across the border and into the Mexican market. The information on foreign direct investment (FDI) which is contained in Chapter 7 will be of help to those readers who are contemplating business presence in the Mexican market. It gives an overview of the legal framework, the business climate, favourable investment locations, selected costs and basic administrative processes. Some of these issues are also taken up in Chapter 8 which deals with selected aspects of the legal environment. Finally, Chapter 9 is a wrap-up of Part II, recalling briefly major success factors and challenges when doing business in Mexico. It highlights the importance of ”soft factors” and cultural considerations for successfully dealing with Mexican partners.

Part III contains some practical advice for business travellers. Last but not least, Part IV offers information on resources which Swiss SMEs may tap in search of additional assistance or information for their Mexican venture: Chapter 11 offers a vast compilation of selected business contacts and references both in Mexico and Switzerland. The goal is to list institutions which are able to provide targeted assistance and expert advice at all stages of market research, market entry and investment. The list has been put together with the conviction that Swiss SMEs will sooner or later have to rely on local expertise in the market entry process, be it in order to cope with the legal requirements of establishing a business presence or to conduct thorough background checks of potential partners, both of which are necessary for business success. Chapter 12 contains a bibliography with a selection of the literature that I used when writing this book and which may be of help to Swiss SMEs dealing with particular issues. Finally, Chapter 13 concludes with some internet addresses that point to major Mexican media and internet portals with general Mexican content.

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