How does the tender system work in Mexico? (Mexico)
How does the tender system work in Mexico? (Mexico)

By: Irais Arenas, Grants Development Consultant (Mexico)


Tenders in Mexico are processes that allow the State to cover its operational needs and comply with the transparency standards requested by the international community. Government acquisitions, leases, services, and public works are carried out through a process in which government agencies hire suppliers to meet the goals and objectives of the budgetary programs.

A contracting procedure involves identifying how a government agency will carry out an acquisition, lease, or service of a certain product offered by an external provider. This procedure can be of three types:

  • Public bidding: open invitation through the announcement of a call to all those interested in registering as participants to be suppliers of the Federal Government
  • Invitation to at least three people: type of procedure that, through a tender, restricts the number of participants to three people
  • Direct award: consists of assigning a contract, without public bidding, to a supplier

In this sense, according to Article 26 of the Law on Public Sector Acquisitions, Leases, and Services, "acquisitions, leases, and services will be awarded, as a general rule, through public bidding, by public call.” Also, Article 41 of the same law establishes the exceptions to which agencies and entities may contract without being subject to public tender and through invitation or direct award, for example, when the participant has the ownership or the exclusive licensing of patents and copyrights. The tender system in Mexico is operated by an electronic platform known as COMPRANET, in which people, companies of all sizes, and foreign companies can register.

In general, tenders have five stages:

  • The moment in which the public notice is made about the intention of the government agency to acquire a good or service, the wording of the specific content of all the characteristics and requirements that must be covered. The call must also include the bases or requirements for companies to participate and the corresponding annexes
  • Clarification meeting. This second stage of the tender seeks that the companies clear up all their doubts, clarify any situation that is not correctly detailed, and allows the calling entities to correct any error that may have occurred or any erroneous information that may have been given during the tender announcement
  • Integration of proposals. The companies must compile all the documents requested in the call to present them promptly. The proposals must be integrated or constituted strictly following the requirements of the call without omitting or adding any element
  • Presentation of proposals. The proposals must be delivered within the period stipulated for it. Submitting proposals can be done in three ways:
    • The proposals are delivered in a sealed envelope that guarantees their inviolability until their public opening, which is carried out to corroborate the documents that are delivered, and that pass to the second stage
    • Electronically. This type of presentation must be made using electronic means accepted by the convening agency and qualified as safe and reliable for both parties
    • Sometimes, the convening agencies request that the proposal be submitted electronically and physically. The physical proposal will be taken as real if differences are found between the two
  • Evaluation and final decision. When all the proposals are in place, the corresponding jury proceeds to evaluate them to determine which of them meets the needs of the convening agency. During this process, companies can only wait until the moment of final decision

Tenders play a crucial role in the distribution of financial resources in Mexico. Article 134 of the Mexican constitution provides for a general policy guideline for public procurement that is mandatory for the entire Federal Public Administration when determining the acquisitions, leases, and disposals of all types of goods, provision of services of any nature, and the contracting of work that they carry out, be awarded or carried out through public tenders using a public call so that proposals are freely submitted to ensure the State the best available conditions in terms of price, quality, financing, opportunity, and other pertinent circumstances.