Mexico: Regulatory Background

Mexico: Regulatory Background


The regulatory process generally produces 2 distinct types of regulation in Mexico: Norma Oficial Mexicana (NOM) – Official Mexican Standard, which establishes mandatory technical specifications, attributes, guidelines, or requirements for a product, process, facility, system, service or production or operating method, often meeting international standards; and Norma Mexicana (NMX) – Mexican Standards, which are not obligatory and generally provide guidelines and recommendations for a product, process, facility, system, service or production or operating method.



Standards concerning emissions and fuel economy are established as Normas (NOMs), the process for which is as follows:

  • A standard or regulation is registered as part of the national standardization program.
  • An elaborated draft of the Norma Oficial Mexicana (NOM) is developed, which is accompanied by a Manifestación de Impacto Regulatorio (regulatory impact assessment).
  • The Ley Federal de Meteorología y Normalización (LFMN), or National Measures and Standards law, is the formal doctrine that empowers the appropriate administrative body or agency to put forth and oversee regulations. This law require agencies to form a national advisory committee made of various stakeholders, including researchers, academics, and industry trade or professional associations to jointly develop draft regulations. (For any environmental standards, the appropriate agency would be SEMARNAT; when such a body or agency is not readily identified, the Secretaría de Economía (Ministry of Economy) serves as default.)
  • Once the working group agrees to the NOM, it is voted upon in the regulatory committee. For environmental regulations, that committee is the Comité Consultivo Nacional de Normalización de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (COMARNAT).
  • If the committee approves the proposal, it is published along with the MIR by the Comisión Federal de Mejora Regulatoria (COFEMER), where the public comments will also be posted as received. The Diario Oficial de la Federación (DOF), the national registry or journal of laws, also publishes all proposals, and the 60 day public comment period begins upon publication in the DOF.
  • Emergency standards, which are in force for no more than 6 months and can be extended for up to 1 year total, have a significantly shorter public comment period, as do administrative changes. Agreements to extend standards and agency decrees can also be published without public comment.
  • The consulting technical committee responds to comments received and answers questions from the public; responses are published in the DOF.
  • The consulting committee orders the publication of the final NOM, indicating an effective date. Publication in the DOF brings the standard into force.



The following are national agencies with some level of oversight concerning vehicle emissions and fuel standards:


The following are municipal-level agencies with some level of oversight concerning vehicle emissions:


Relevant Legislation, Programs and Plans

Ley General de Cambio Climático 

In June 2012, the President passed a landmark climate bill committing Mexico to address climate change. The most recent update sets an aspirational goal of 30% reduction of GHG emissions by 2020 and 50% by 2050 compared to the year 2000.

Programa Especial de Cambio Climático (PECC)

SEMARNAT makes regular updates to the Special Program on Climate Change, the most recent one covered 2014-2018.

Nationally Determined Contribution on Climate Change

Mexico’s submission to the United Nations Framework Commission on Climate Change makes an unconditional commitment to a 25% reduction in GHG and short-lived climate pollutants from business as usual by 2030 and a conditional commitment to a 40% reduction.

Programa Nacional para el Aprovechamiento Sustentable de la Energía (PRONASE)

The National Program for Sustainable Energy  identifies opportunities to achieve optimum energy efficiency and generate substantial savings for Mexico in the medium and long term. The most recent update is for 2014-2018.

Plan Nacional de Desarrollo

The National Development Plan aims to establish national objectives, strategies and priorities for the administration to advance the transformation of Mexico on a solid, realistic, and responsible foundation. The most recent plan for SEMARNAT was for 2013-2018.

Programa Anual de Trabajo

Most agencies publish annual workplans (plan o programa) for the regulatory work under development over the calendar year. In some cases this is also updated mid-year.

Current Standards

Air quality standards: Normas Mexicanas de Calidad del Aire. Air quality standards for ozone (O3) and particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) were updated in 2014. Standards for sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), lead (Pb), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) were last updated in 1994.

Fuel quality: NOM-016-CRE-2016

Light-duty emissions: NOM-042-SEMARNAT-2003

Light-duty fuel economy and GHG emissions: NOM-163-SEMARNAT-ENER-SCFI-2013

Heavy-duty emissions: NOM-044-SEMARNAT-2006 for diesel engines and NOM-076-SEMARNAT-2012 for engines that run on gasoline, liquified petroleum gas (LPG), and natural gas

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