Mexico’s Soybean Oil Imports Pass $107 Million


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Oct 10, 2023 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minutes

The vegetable oil industry, spanning the globe with its vast intricacies, is prominent in the world’s agricultural commodity market. Mexico is a significant participant among the key players in this arena. But what factors are at play when we delve deep into Mexico’s vegetable oil trade and imports for the first eight months of 2023?

An Introduction to the Trade

Vegetable oil, a staple in most households, is more than just a cooking ingredient. It represents an intricate interplay of international relationships, trade agreements, and economic predictions. Mexico, known for its rich culinary traditions, has an increasing demand for high-quality vegetable oil. But why is there such a significant focus on vegetable oil imports in the land of avocados and chilies?

The Rising Demand

Firstly, we must understand the domestic demand. With the burgeoning health trends and a shift towards healthier cooking alternatives, there has been an increasing inclination towards vegetable oils in Mexican households. But is domestic production not enough?

Domestic Production vs. Imports

Despite its vast agricultural lands, Mexico faces challenges in meeting the internal demand. Why? The reasons range from climate challenges to changing farming practices. While Mexico produces substantial oil, especially from sources like avocados, the balance between production and demand isn’t always even. Thus, the imports.

According to AgFlow data, Mexico imported 0.15 million tons of Vegetable Oil from Argentina in Jan – Sep 2023, followed by Indonesia (12,000 tons) and Malaysia (1,500 tons). Total imports hit 0.17 million tons. Average volume of shipments was 14,093 tons. Argentina shipped Soybean Oil mostly. Mexico was purchasing large amounts of Soybean Oil from Argentina, such as 45,000 and 30,000 tons, respectively.

Mexico's Soybean Oil Imports Pass $107 Million

In 2021, Mexico imported Soybean Oil worth $107 million, becoming the 31st largest importer of Soybean Oil in the world. Mexico imports Soybean Oil primarily from: the United States ($75.7M), Guatemala ($21.5M), Argentina ($6.1M), Colombia ($1.37M), and Belize ($1.11M).

The Delicate Balance of Trade

Trade, especially in agricultural commodities, requires careful consideration. When importing vegetable oil, Mexico faces trade-offs. On one hand, there’s a necessity to satisfy domestic demand. Conversely, the country has to ensure that these imports don’t adversely affect local farmers and producers. How does one strike a balance without tipping the scales?

Global Market Dynamics

The world of vegetable oil trade isn’t isolated; it’s interconnected. Prices, geopolitical situations, and even climatic changes elsewhere can impact Mexico’s decision to import. For instance, a sudden price surge in major producing countries like Indonesia or Malaysia can send ripples across the global market, including Mexico.

The Challenges Ahead

The primary challenge? Ensuring sustainability. With the world moving towards sustainable practices, how can Mexico ensure that the vegetable oil it imports is sustainably sourced? Moreover, how can the country fortify its domestic production without compromising on environmental standards?
In addition, there’s the task of managing trade relationships. As the global scene changes, Mexico needs to continuously reassess its partnerships, ensuring that it’s getting the best deals and maintaining strong alliances.


Mexico’s journey in the vegetable oil trade and imports for 2023 has been a blend of challenges and opportunities. While navigating global intricacies, the country seeks to strike a balance between domestic needs and international dynamics. Like an experienced chef carefully selecting the best ingredients for the perfect dish, Mexico judiciously chooses its path in the vegetable oil industry. Only time will tell how this careful calibration impacts the domestic and broader global markets. However, one thing is clear: the journey is as essential as the destination.

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