Mexico ranked No. 1 in total trade value with the U.S. in 2019

Mexico’s trade with the United States rose to $614.5 billion in 2019, up 0.5% above its total trade in 2018, according to U.S. Department of Commerce data released Wednesday.

That was a record for the commercial exchange of goods between the countries, and Mexico ranked No. 1 among the U.S.’s trade partners in 2019. In 2018, Mexico ranked No. 3, behind China and Canada, respectively, according to a WorldCity analysis of the latest U.S. Census Bureau data.

For 2019, Canada ranked No. 2 in total trade value with the U.S., totaling $612 billion. Exports totaled $292.38 billion and imports totaled $319.74 billion, a deficit of $27.35 billion.

China ranked No. 3 in total trade value with the U.S. in 2019. China’s trade with the U.S. fell 15%, from $654 billion to $555 billion in 2019 when compared to 2018.

On Thursday, China announced it was cutting tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. goods as part of efforts to implement a recently signed trade agreement with the Trump administration.

Beginning Feb. 14, China will cut tariffs on some U.S. goods to 5% from 10%, while tariffs on other items will decrease to 2.5% from 5%, China’s Ministry of Finance said. The tariffs were imposed in September and December during a bitter trade dispute between U.S. and Chinese officials.

However, Deepak Chhugani, CEO and founder of Nuvocargo, which helps companies transport goods between the U.S. and Mexico, said it could be too little, too late for China.

“Since the trade war with China started, we have been overwhelmed with calls from U.S. companies looking to establish new supply chains with manufacturers and transporters in Mexico,” Chhugani said. “These inquiries have quadrupled in recent days, with coronavirus exacerbating concerns about supply chains in China.”

Imports from Mexico to the U.S. totaled $358.13 billion, and exports totaled $256.37 billion for all of 2019, a deficit of $101.75 billion.

Through December 2019, the top five border crossings for trade with Mexico among U.S. ports, in descending order, were Port Laredo, Texas; El Paso, Texas; Otay Mesa, California; Pharr International Bridge in Texas; and Santa Teresa, New Mexico.

Mexico’s total trade with No. 1 Port Laredo fell 0.58% to $227 billion for 2019. Exports fell 5% to $95 billion and imports rose 3% to $132 billion.

The decline in trade volume in Laredo can be partially attributed to wait times increasing. Last week’s signing of the U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA) brought into sharp focus the delays shippers have been facing along the southern border. 

A bill has been introduced into congress to increase the number of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agriculture Specialists and support staff along the U.S.-Mexico border to speed up inspections.

Carrier wait times to load and unload in neighboring border U.S. freight markets including El Paso (WAIT.ELP), Laredo (WAIT.LRD) and McAllen (WAIT.MFE) have decreased seasonally to an average of two hours and 40 minutes in Texas after being between four and five hours just three months ago. 

Wait time in minutes have decreased at ports along the U.S.-Mexico border. SONAR: WAIT.ONT, WAIT.ELD, WIAT.PHX, WAIT.LRD, WAIT.MFE, WAIT.TUS, WAIT.SAN

The top five imports from Mexico for 2019 were passenger vehicles; computers; commercial vehicles; motor vehicle parts; and oil. These collectively accounted for 36% of all inbound shipments.

The top U.S. exports to Mexico for 2019 were gasoline and other fuels; motor vehicle parts; computer parts; and computer chips. These collectively accounted for 28% of total exports to Mexico.