The partnership between Mexico and the United States continues to solidify with Mexico being the top U.S. trade partner in July at $65.3 billion, a 0.24% year-over-year (y/y) increase.
It was the seventh time in the past eight months Mexico ranked No. 1 in monthly international commerce with the U.S., according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Mexico’s trade with the U.S. year to date is $462 billion, ahead of Canada at $450.3 billion and China at $322.3 billion.
If Mexico holds on for the rest of 2023 as the top U.S. trading partner, it would only be the second time in history the country has done so. The first time was 2019, when U.S.-Mexico trade totaled $612.8 billion, compared to Canada’s $611.4 billion and China’s $555.6 billion.
From the 1970s through 2014, Canada was the top trading partner of the U.S. China earned the No. 1 ranking from 2015 through 2018. Canada regained the top spot in 2021 and 2022.
Nearshoring of manufacturing to Mexico is helping to boost cross-border trade with the U.S., according to Patty Hinojosa, vice president of Mexico sales and operations for CargoQuotes.
“We have recently witnessed a remarkable surge in partnership requests from new manufacturing plants in the [Mexican cities] of Ramos Arizpe and Monterrey areas,” Hinojosa said. “These companies are gearing up to roll out their first batch of final products to their eager customers in the USA.”
CargoQuotes, based in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, is a full-service freight brokerage specializing in cross-border shipments.
The manufacturing sector in Mexico has already attracted almost $10 billion in foreign direct investments in the first eight months of 2023, according to Statista, compared to $13.7 billion in all of 2022.
For the sixth straight month, Laredo, Texas, retained the No. 1 spot among the nation’s 450 international gateways for trade, according to WorldCity.
Laredo recorded $26.1 billion in two-way trade during July, with Mexico’s commerce accounting for $25.4 billion, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by WorldCity.
The Port of Los Angeles ranked No. 2 with $24.3 billion and Chicago O’Hare International Airport was No. 3 and reported $24.2 billion in trade.
As nearshoring efforts continue to ramp up in Mexico, there are signs of growing pains, according to Jordan Dewart, president of Redwood Mexico. Redwood Mexico is the cross-border shipping arm of Chicago-based fourth-party logistics provider Redwood Logistics.
Dewart said the demand for cross-border trucking capacity continues to climb but is being affected by rising diesel costs, Mexican driver shortages, cargo theft, and the dollar/peso conversion depreciation, which have contributed to increased shipping per mile and interest rate charges.