What is the Legal Landscape for Foreign Investors in Mexico?

Mexico, the prosperous southern neighbor of the United States, is considered one of the most attractive destinations for foreign investment, and not just due to it´s strategic location. Recent legislative reforms, as well as modifications to the Law of Foreign Investment, now allow both locals and foreigners to participate in activities that were previously restricted.

But despite the niche opportunities that have been brought upon by these legislative changes, what should you keep in mind if you want to start a company in Mexico as a foreign investor?

Gross average national income per capita in Latin America
Gross average national income per capita in Latin America

Restrictions On Foreign Investment In Mexico

The first and most important step is to identify and define the social objective of the company. This means defining the activities for which you will be responsible; beyond marketing goods or services.

Despite sectors opening up to international investment in accordance with changes to The Foreign Investment Law, there are still restrictions regarding certain economic activities. Within the restricted activities, there are a few in which only the state can participate in. These include activities in the national electric system, radioactive minerals, nuclear power generation and ticketing. There are also activities reserved for Mexicans only, including the development of banking institutions as well as providing professional and technical (public notaries, brokers, customs brokers) services.

Lastly, there are also activities in which foreign investment cannot exceed a certain percentage. The National Commission of Foreign Investment (FIC) allows up to 10% of foreign investment in production cooperatives; up to 25% in domestic air transport and other specialized air transport; up to 49% in broadcasting, national newspapers, manufacturing and marketing of explosives and firearms, freshwater fishing etc.

Activities that allow foreign investment exceeding 49% include: concessionaires or companies that provide aerodromes services to the public, legal services, private services for preschool, primary, secondary, high school and higher education, shipping companies and provision of public rail transport services.

If your company falls within one of the activities mentioned above, you must file a CNIE application that will authorize you to invest up to 100% of the share capital. The application should have a general description of the project, share capital budget, projected growth for the coming years, as well as a detailed summary explaining the type of employee training provided. Should the CNIE deem necessary, additional information can be requested. Upon receiving the request, you have a maximum of 15 labor days to respond before your application is closed. If your application is in order and was well received, the Mexican government will issue their decision within 40 working days.

At Biz Latin Hub, we provide tailored packages of integrated back-office services based on a portfolio that includes accounting & taxation, company formation, corporate legal support, and visa processing, among others.

We have teams in place in 17 markets around Latin America and the Caribbean and we specialize in multi-jurisdiction market entry.

We will provide all of the legal services in Mexico that you need as part of a comprehensive support package that makes working with us more convenient than seeking the services of individual recruitment, accounting, and legal firms.

Contact us today to discuss how we can support you doing business in Mexico.

Or read about our team and expert authors.

Key services offered by Biz Latin Hub
Key services offered by Biz Latin Hub

The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.

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