Although tree nurseries are sprouting up in Mexico and domestic production is on the rise, the greatest volume of Christmas trees used in the country is of imported origin.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
GAIN Report Number: MX1040
Solid Wood Products
Dulce Flores, Vanessa Salcido, and Adam Branson
Although tree nurseries are sprouting up in Mexico and domestic production is on the rise, the greatest
volume of Christmas trees used in the country is of imported origin. Most trees enter Mexico in late
November and pass into consumers hands during the 15 days prior to December 25. Sanitary
requirements for imported Christmas trees were finalized in late 2010 after years of scientific studies
and negotiations. Christmas tree nurseries are bringing environmental, economic, and social benefits to
rural areas and agricultural producers.
The Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) National Forestry Commission
(CONAFOR) estimated the 2010 Christmas tree planted area at 5,000 hectares (ha) and production at
800,000 trees in both 2009 and 2010.
Planted areas are located in the states of Mexico, Veracruz, Nuevo Leon, Mexico City, Puebla, Jalisco,
and Guanajuato. The State of Mexico is responsible for almost 60 percent of total production. The
production cycle is between five and seven years (depending on the species). The most common
species grown in Mexico are Mexican White Pine (Pino ayacahuite [Pinus ayacahuite var. veitchii]);
Douglas Fir (Abeto douglas [Pseudotsuga macrolepis]); Mexican Pinyon (Pino piñonero [Pinus
cembroides]); Sacred Fir (Oyamel [Abies religiosa]); and, Aleppo Pine (Pino alepo [Pinus alepensis]).
Christmas trees are grown on plantations and specialized nurseries established to supply the growing
demand for this product. Christmas tree farming is a sustainable development alternative in many rural
areas and considered a profitable business venture. In some areas, Christmas tree planting is more
profitable than using land for residential or commercial use and has been an effective strategy to stop
the advance of urban sprawl. Similarly, Christmas tree production is an alternative crop to traditional
rain fed crops, such as oats, planted in these areas.
According to industry information, Mexico imports 1 million trees to help meet the annual demand of
about 1.8 million trees. Statistics for calendar years 2008, 2009, and 2010 under harmonized tariff
system (HTS) code 06049102 ?Christmas Trees? show that Mexico imported 24,412 metric tons (MT),
21,352 MT, and 21,775 MT of trees valued at $20.2 million, $12.1 million, and $12.7 million,
respectively. Nearly all imports originated from the United States. A small fraction, however,
originated from Canada in 2009. Approximately 75 to 80 percent of all Christmas tree imports cross
into Mexico during November of each year.
Christmas tree plantations receive support through CONAFOR?s ProArbol program. This is the
primary program supporting the forestry sector. It offers incentives to landowners to protect, conserve,
restore, and sustainably exploit forest resources as well as forested and arid areas in Mexico.
CONAFOR is responsible for carrying out this program and delivers resources under strict operational
rules. From 2008 through the end of 2010, CONAFOR supported the plantation of 1,040 ha of trees
SEMARNAT published the final standard regulating the importation of Christmas trees, NOM-013-
SEMARNAT-2010, in the Diario Oficial (Federal Register), on November 6, 2010. The NOM
regulates the sanitary requirements for the import of natural Christmas trees of the species Pinus and
Abies, and of the species Pseudotsuga menziesii into Mexico. SEMARNAT had been working to
MX1040 Christmas Trees Page 2
modify the original regulation published in 2004, which was issued to protect the country from possible
pests that could severely damage the domestic tree industry and/or create other ecological problems if
left unregulated. Attempts to modify NOM-013 had been rejected by the Federal Commission for
Regulatory Improvement (COFEMER) until last November. See 2010 GAIN Reports MX0085 NOM-
013 Finalized for Christmas Tree Imports and MX0029 Christmas Tree NOM Extension.
Industry information covering the 2009 sales season suggests that approximately 75 percent of
Christmas trees are sold through traditional retail markets and informal street vendors hold the
remaining share. According to information from the Federal Consumer Protection Agency
(PROFECO), the majority of Christmas tree purchases occur 15 days prior to December 25 and the most
popular imported tree varieties are Douglas and Noble Firs. In addition, according to the PROFECO
survey, most respondents (81 percent) purchase artificial trees and 18 percent purchase cut or live trees.
Table 1. Mexico: Christmas Tree Varieties, Sizes, and Sale Prices (in pesos) during the 2009 Sales
Variety Size in Meters (m.) Price in Pesos
Douglas Fir 1.5 a 1.8 m. 375
Douglas 1.8 a 2.1 m. 459
Douglas 2.1 a 2.4 m. 590
Noble Fir 1.5 a 1.8 m. 399
Noble 1.8 a 2.1 m. 449
Noble 2.1 a 2.4 m. 699
Noble (Plastic Basin) 2.1 a 2.4 m. 799
Noble (Plastic Basin) 2.4 a 2.7 m. 999
November Exchange Rate: 13.12 pesos per U.S. $1.00
December Exchange Rate: 12.85 pesos per U.S. $1.00
According to SEMARNAT, growing natural Christmas trees in Mexico allows land to be returned to
forest and offers an alternative to urban sprawl and the conversion of forested lands to traditional
agriculture. Commercial plantations producing Christmas trees capture carbon, thus contributing to the
mitigation of global climate change and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, it
allows for the sustainable and productive use of soil. The cultivation of Christmas trees can discourage
the illegal harvest of small trees in the forest, as well. Additionally, after use, spent Christmas trees can
be composted, thus maintaining or adding to green areas in large cities. Christmas tree production
represents an alternative income source for rural producers and limits capital flight as domestic
production substitutes for imports. The production of Christmas trees generates rural employment and
offers alternative to rural people emigrating to urban areas and other countries.
Consult the following CONAFOR web sites for additional information:
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For More Information:
FAS/Mexico Web Site: We are available at www.mexico-usda.com or visit the FAS headquarters'
home page at www.fas.usda.gov for a complete selection of FAS worldwide agricultural reporting.
FAS/Mexico YouTube Channel: Catch the latest videos of FAS Mexico at work
Other Relevant Reports Submitted by FAS/Mexico:
Report Subject Date
MX0085 NOM-013 Finalized for Christmas Tree Imports 11/19/10
MX0054 Mexico Increases Trucking Retaliation Against Ag 8/18/10
MX0029 Christmas Tree NOM Could Impact U.S. Exports 4/30/10
MX1040 Christmas Trees Page 4