Exporting to Mexico? Consider This First

  • By Susan Burns
  • 10 May, 2016

Congratulations! After lots of hard work, your business is ready to start thinking about exporting to other markets, and the most viable option is Mexico.

So, you start researching about how to become an exporter. But, the more you research, the less you seem to understand…

Even though Mexico is our next door neighbor, all the different rules and regulations involved in an importing-exporting transaction, can make you feel lost and overwhelmed. And on top of that, the language is different, the culture is different , how on earth are you going to get through all that??

Relax… While your best move is to contact a business strategist with experience doing business in Mexico instead of trying to figure out everything on your own, here are some important things to consider in the early stages of your international trading venture.

Why Mexico?

Mexico is our second largest export market. Even though Minnesota’s main exports are agricultural products such as turkeys, pork, beef, soybeans, corn, and wheat, the possibilities are endless. Car components, electrical parts, and plastics are only some of the main products we export to Mexico, and more recently vehicles, engines for military aircraft, machinery, iron and steel products, and many others, are growing rapidly.

Mexico presents a huge advantage to U.S. exporters, which is that transportation options are not only limited to air or sea. Land transportation could be a cheaper, and even faster alternative that may positively affect the pricing and availability of your products in the Mexican market.

Unlike other Latin American countries, Mexico has a strong distribution infrastructure, which makes it easier for exporters to make timely deliveries at competitive prices, whether by sea, air, or ground (rails or roads).

Getting started

NAFTA eliminated most tariffs and simplified the process to exporting goods to Mexico. However, as a savvy exporter, you must be well informed about the appropriate tariff treatment of each of your products and its components.

As you can imagine, there are necessary documents required by Mexican authorities that need to be prepared in advance, in order for the shipment to go as planned. Some of these documents are the invoice, the Certificate of Origin, certificate of free sale, any required sanitary (or otherwise) requirements, proper labeling (it has to be in Spanish), and others that may vary depending on your product. By following the appropriate procedures, and preparing the right documentation in advance, your shipment will pass through customs swiftly and smoothly.

If you don’t want to get totally involved in the exporting process, at least at the beginning, a good option is to employ an agent or a distributor to sell your products. A distributor buys your products directly from your location in U.S., whereas an agent receives a commission on the sale. That way, you can start testing the waters, without having to go through a learning curve that might not get you the results you want, as quickly as you’d like.

In any case, a good business advisor is the safest way to go. Visit trade shows, contact   Pro México   and the   U.S. Commercial Service , and start visiting the country and making connections with legitimate organizations. After all, going global gets easier every day with the help of today’s technology, and it can be just the right move for your business.


More Posts from Susan's Blog


By Susan Burns 26 Oct, 2017
P.S. There has been a lot of discussion on social media about my post on reading fine print  when installing apps, specifically focused on the Grammarly app. Some people have responded with the interpretation that Grammarly can only use your content to correct your grammar and not for anything else.

I disagree. This is not a correct interpretation, in my opinion.

Even though that interpretation may be based on a provision in the TOS that states you keep ownership of
your content, they still have an unlimited, perpetual, royalty-free right to use it. I won’t repeat the prior
post, but do urge you to read it .

Others have suggested that Grammarly’s TOS are typical of SaaS (software as a service) agreements and,
somehow, that makes it okay. The TOS may be similar, but the products aren’t. Grammarly, in my
experience, crawls through everything you type. Everything.

The other argument proposed by someone is that because this is typical SaaS language, they don’t really
mean that they are going to use your content. Really? Then say so in a clearly-drafted, user-friendly
contract a/k/a TOS.

I have not heard of someone successfully arguing in court that even though they agreed to a license of
their product, they didn’t think the person was really going to use it … and therefore, they shouldn’t be
allowed to use it. If you know of such a case, send it my way.

Again, legal ethics prohibit me from using the service. That aside, I don’t choose to give Grammarly
access to everything I type.

As one person put it, “everything ever typed on the computer, so while it runs in the background, it
gathers password, credit card data, shopping habits, text conversations from Facebook, messenger
services, anything you do... recorded and stored.”

Finally, my posts are my opinion and my legal analysis. I am not your lawyer. And, I am not telling you
what to do.

One of my major focus points with clients is clarity. Fabulous decisions come from clarity. Make a
decision that’s right for you.

I love a great discussion! Keep the comments coming.

By Susan Burns 24 Oct, 2017

Recently I was engaged in a Facebook exchange among a group of successful business women. Someone asked for opinions on using Grammarly—an app that is marketed as “A FREE, ACCURATE GRAMMAR CHECKER BUILT FOR EVERYONE.”  

The comments started rolling in: “love it!” “best thing I have used in a long time.” “Cuts my writing time significantly.” And more like that.

I actually had installed the free app a few weeks before to give it a test run. I found it to be a nuisance because that little app was popping up and sticking its grammar-nose in every single thing I wrote. My emails. My blog posts. My word documents. That spelled danger to me, and I immediately deleted it.

My curiosity piqued, I checked the Terms of Service (which, admittedly, I should have done first). Here is what I found:

By uploading or entering any User Content, you give Grammarly (and those it works with) a nonexclusive, worldwide, royalty-free and fully-paid, transferable and sublicensable, perpetual, and irrevocable license to copy, store and use your User Content (and, if you are an Authorized User, your Enterprise Subscriber’s User Content) in connection with the provision of the Software and the Services and to improve the algorithms underlying the Software and the Services. (emphasis added)

Here's what you need to know:

  • Grammarly, Inc. is a Delaware corporation. They include in the definition of “Grammarly” not only the corporation, but also all of its subsidiaries AND other affiliates.
  • The definition of “Software” is “the software.
  • The definition of “Services” is … wait for it … “services.” 
  • And, although it is poorly drafted, it seems to be attempting to include any future Software and Services provided by Grammarly, which you recall also means any subsidiary or affiliate.

What does this mean for you?

It means that if you install Grammarly, whether it’s a free service or a paid service, you are specifically giving an unlimited perpetual license to your content to Grammarly and any company they affiliate with and any of their subsidiaries basically for any service they provide now and decide to use in the future.

That means that if you use Grammarly, instead of your own brain or a copy editor, you are no longer the exclusive owner of your content. That means they can republish, provide to third party affiliates, and use your data and materials any way they see fit.

The bottom line is that Grammarly has access to—and the unlimited, forever—right to use your content. Period.

And, once you install Grammarly, it is everywhere . It pops up in every document you create. Every. Single. One. If you don’t believe me, try it yourself.

Of course, lawyers and other professionals with a confidentiality responsibility to their clients are ethically prohibited from using Grammarly. (And, I hope they read the fine print.) But even if you don’t have an ethical responsibility to keep information confidential, do you really want to give up the right to your content?

Think about it! And next time, read the fine print. … or call me, and I’ll read it for you.

​*This post has been updated here .

By Susan Burns 28 Feb, 2017

The driverless car industry is hot and super-competitive. That’s a given. Here’s what’s not hot if you are Waymo, the self-driving car business that was spun out of Google’s parent company:

By Susan Burns 19 Feb, 2017

Recently, there was a trademark spat between Adidas and Tesla. The story piqued my interest because   the big players make mistakes that are instructive for small businesses (only on a grander scale)—and because it illustrates the importance of brand identity and underscores why it’s smart to register your mark.

In a nutshell, here’s what happened: Tesla filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to register its Model 3, three-bar logo as a trademark. If the registration had been for the purpose of using the mark on a car, there would not have been a problem. BUT, Tesla registered to use its three-bar “E” on clothing. Adidas, a company known for rigorous policing of its brand identity, challenged Tesla’s right to register the mark as confusingly similar to the Adidas three-bar logo. Tesla withdrew its application. Adidas protected its three-bar brand identity.
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