This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 10/17/2019

The Plastics and Resins industry is a best prospect industry sector for Mexico. This section includes a market overview and trade data for this sector.


In 2018, Mexico was the largest market for U.S. exporters of plastics products (HS-39) totaling USD 17.9 billion (TSE), and the second-largest destination for rubber (HS-40) with USD 3.6 billion. Plastics were among the five top U. S. export categories to Mexico in 2018. The International Trade Administration’s Industry and Analysis office considers Mexico to be a top destination:
  • Largest destination for U.S. plastic and rubber equipment
  • Largest destination for U.S. tools, dies, and jigs
  • Largest destination for U.S. industrial molds
  • Fifteenth-largest destination for U.S. additive manufacturing equipment
According to Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía or INEGI), Mexico’s economy grew 2.0 percent in 2018, while the value of total production in the plastics industry grew by 6.9 percent. In 2019, this industry faces the challenge of a more environmentally-conscious society. Despite that, manufacturers see an opportunity to rebound to higher growth rates as Mexico negotiates additional free trade agreements with key economies. For future developments and information on eventual agreements in connection with the USMCA, visit the Office of United States Trade Representative website at

According to Mexico’s Plastics Industry Association (Asociación Nacional de Industrias de Plástico, A.C. or ANIPAC), Mexico’s plastics market will continue to increase as Mexican imports of U.S. plastic resins and plastic parts supply the growing automotive and aerospace industries. Mexico’s plastics industry relies heavily on imports which predominantly come from the United States. In 2018, the United States exported $21.5 billion in plastics and rubber parts and materials, comprising 67 percent of Mexico’s total imports of plastics and rubber materials.

U. S. plastics exporters to Mexico partake in a market worth over USD $40 billion in 2018, with opportunities for continued U.S. participation in the sale of capital equipment, resins, plastic materials, and plastic parts. Recycling technology is also booming in the Mexican market, motivated by China having closed its doors to plastic waste and the urge to create circular economies to satisfy the sector’s recent commitments to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the United Nations.

Mexico’s Plastics and Resins Production and Market Size
(Figures in USD billions)
 201620172018 2019 (Estimate)
Total Local Production19.1020.7721.8322.27
Total Exports10.8811.8112.7012.95
Total Imports28.2530.0332.3232.97
Imports from the U.S.19.3420.0221.5222.06
Total Market Size*36.4838.9941.4642.29
Exchange Rates18.6818.9119.2319.15
*Total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports
Sources: INEGI; *2019 estimates in USD from the IMF

Leading Sub-Sectors

Capital Equipment

One year after NAFTA was implemented, ANIPAC reported that Mexico imported a total of USD 600 million worth of capital equipment. By the end of 2017, Mexico’s total import of capital equipment totaled USD 2.9 billion. Of that amount, nearly 50 percent corresponds to plastic primary processing machinery and equipment worth USD 1.48 billion. The other 50 percent includes molds and tooling totaling USD 1.43 billion. Mexico’s major trading partner for capital equipment is Germany, followed by the United States and China.

Plastic Resins

Mexico produces 80 percent of domestic demand for PE, PP, PET, and PVC. Two large companies, Alpek and Braskem/IDESA, are responsible for the majority of the produced volume. In 2018, Mexico produced 4.3 million tons of the various resins, with PET, PVC, and HDPE comprising over 50 percent of total production. Despite Mexico’s capacity for resin production, a similar amount was imported, reaching 4.2 million tons.

Plastic Materials and Parts

Mexico manufactures a large variety of secondary and tertiary plastic materials including PP film, PVC pipe and fittings, laminates, and acrylic materials. The manufacture of plastic autoparts is significant and growing, particularly in the area of central Mexico known as the Bajio region. In the last two years, the Bajio region of Mexico has seen new FDI in the auto industry, increasing demand of autoparts and hence plastic parts.

Plastics Recycling

According to ECOCE (Ecología y Compromiso Empresarial or Businesses Committed to Environmentalism), a non-profit organization devoted to creating recycling awareness, Mexico has Latin America’s largest recycling ratio of plastic waste at around 58 percent; however, that is only a portion of the country’s 17 percent overall recycling rate. Almost 40 percent of recycled PET materials are exported. After China banned 24 types of solid waste including PET, many other major producers of plastic waste, including Mexico, are trying to increase their recycling capacity.


Capital Equipment

In 2018, Mexico imported USD 1.2 billion worth of industrial machinery made in the United States. U.S. exports of primary processing machinery and equipment to Mexico is low, though U.S. exporters do provide most of the auxiliary equipment demanded by this industry. Mexico’s plastics manufacturers are attractive prospects for extruders, blenders, mixers, and automation solutions for primary and secondary plastics processing.

Plastic Resins

OEM clients provide the best opportunities in Mexico for foreign suppliers of plastic resins. Most of these deals are executed by headquarters-based buyers who concentrate purchasing decisions for the company’s worldwide operations. Foreign suppliers establish distribution centers near their larger customers’ plants. For small producers, selling to OEMs in Mexico may not be the best approach. Instead, U.S. exporters should target the numerous small and medium-sized manufacturers operating in the various industrial regions in Mexico.

Plastic Materials and Parts

Because of the increased demand of plastic parts by new foreign companies establishing plants in Mexico, supply of plastic automotive components is an opportunity for U.S. manufacturers. Buyers of autoparts have a tendency to require that suppliers establish operations near their plants, and tend to prefer the experience and capabilities of certified suppliers.

Plastics Recycling

Most of Mexico’s exports of recycled PET and other resins are manufactured by small and medium-sized recyclers. Large recyclers produce for their own consumption to ensure compliance with health and environmental standards (NMX-E-263-CNCP-2016, ISO 17422:2002, ISO 15270:2008, among others). Plastic recycling technologies and high purity recycles will be in demand in the next few years, including waste-to-energy technologies that can aid in the reduction of plastic waste ending up in landfills.

Customs and Environmental Regulations

Most plastic resins and materials pertaining to HS3901 through HS3926 originating in the NAFTA region are duty free when exported to Mexico, although some products are subject to tariffs of 5–15 percent. Additionally, at the date of this report, 17 Mexican states have implemented a ban on single-use plastics including bags, straws, and expaded polystyrene (EPS), while the remainder are considering implementing similar such bans by 2020.

Web Resources

Asociación Nacional de Industrias del Plástico (ANIPAC)
U.S. Dept. of Commerce Trade Stats Express
Manufactura Magazine
Ingenieria Plastica (online magazine)
Plastics Technology Mexico
Ecología y Compromiso Empresarial, A. C. (ECOCE)
Ellen MacArthur Foundation



For more information on Plastics and Resins in Mexico, please contact:

Mario Vidaña
Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service—Monterrey
Tel.: +52 (81) 8047-3118

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Mexico Industrial Materials Trade Development and Promotion