South of the Border: An Overview of U.S./Mexico Import and Export Activity

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created a variety of trade opportunities between the United States and Mexico when it was enacted in January of 1994. The agreement strengthened trade between the two nations through its comprehensive marketing rules. It has also leveraged the trade rules between Mexico and the U.S. by reducing the need for trade barriers south of the border. Thanks to NAFTA’s enforcement, both countries have heavily profited through the exchange of goods and services.

Profiting Through Trade

In 2011, a reported $500 billion worth of goods was exchanged between the U.S. and Mexico. Overall, American exports totaled $224 billion while imports reached $277 billion. The trade deficit for goods and services with Mexico reached $53 billion that year. In 2012, Mexico became America’s third largest trading ally with $494 billion worth of import/exports. The trade deficit for that year reached $61 billion.

Exporting Goods, Creating Revenue

Last year, the United States exported an estimated $216.3 billion in goods. This was a 9.1 percent increase over the previous year and an overall 121.9 percent increase over the previous ten years. Overall, exportations have increased at a jaw-dropping 420 percent since 1993. Last year, top exports included:

  • Machinery – $36 billion
  • Electrical machinery – $34 billion
  • Mineral fuel and oil – $23.8 billion
  • Vehicles  – $20.4 billion
  • Plastic – $13.9 billion

Agricultural products topped $18.9 billion. The top exports for 2012 included:

  • Coarse grains – $3 billion
  • Red meats (fresh/chilled/frozen) – $1.9 billion
  • Soybeans – $1.9 billion
  • Dairy products – $1.2 billion
  • Wheat – $1.1 billion

Bring in the Imports

Mexico has exported countless goods to the United States despite only being its third largest trading partner. Just over $277 billion worth of goods were imported from our southern neighbor last year. This accounted for an increase of 5.6 percent over 2011, 106.3 percent in 2002 and 596 percent in 1993. The five highest exported products of 2012 include:

  • Electrical machinery – $56.8 billion
  • Vehicles and related accessories – $53.5 billion
  • Machinery – $42.3 billion
  • Mineral fuel and oil – $39.9 billion
  • Medical and optic instruments – $10.4 billion

Agricultural products totaled $16.4 billion with the top products being:

  • Fresh vegetables – $4 billion
  • Fresh fruit – $2.7 billion
  • Beer and wine – $1.8 billion
  • Snack foods – $1.5 billion

Contact Us

Considering how our neighbor to the south has proven to be an invaluable trading ally, consider doing business with Laredo’s Express World Trade, Inc. to get your goods across the border. We can be reached at 956.791.5503.