March 11, 2024

Borderlands Mexico: US-Mexico trade in January totaled $64.5B


Mexico cross-border trade is off to a good start in 2024. The country was the United States’ top trading partner in January, with two-way commerce totaling $64.5 billion, according to the most recent data from the Census Bureau.

Mexico’s trade with the U.S. rose 1.1% year over year (y/y) compared to January 2023. Canada ranked No. 2 with $59.7 billion in trade with the U.S. in January, a 3% y/y decrease. China was the third-ranked U.S. trading partner in the month with $47.9 billion in trade, a 6.6% y/y decrease.

Some of the top commodities the U.S. imported from Mexico in January were auto parts ($6.5 billion), tractor-trailers and buses ($4 billion), and passenger vehicles ($3.2 billion).

Top U.S. exports to Mexico in January included auto parts ($2.8 billion), passenger vehicles ($243 million), and tractor-trailers and buses ($171 million).

Trade at the Laredo, Texas, port of entry totaled $24.5 billion in January, with passenger vehicles and auto parts accounting for a total of $5.9 billion in two-way trade. Other top commodities handled at the Laredo port of entry in January were computers and related machinery at $5.1 billion and electrical machinery and equipment at $4.8 billion.

Trade experts at Kuehne+Nagel are bullish on the continued growth of cross-border commerce among the United States, Canada and Mexico.

“North America is a very important region for us,” Joachim Goller, Kuehne+Nagel’s

senior vice president of road logistics for North America, told FreightWaves. “A large percentage of our revenue is generated out of North America, and it’s one of the focus regions in our road map to 2026.”

In February, Switzerland-based Kuehne+Nagel completed the acquisition of Ontario, Canada-based customs broker Farrow, which has 830 employees in 41 locations across Canada and the U.S. In 2022, Farrow managed over 1.5 million customs entries.

The acquisition of Farrow helps expand Kuehne+Nagel’s customs capabilities, especially at the Canadian and Mexican borders. Goller said Kuehne+Nagel is focused on cross-border trade “because we see a lot of activity in northern Mexico.”

“We see that many customers are changing their supply chains,” Goller said. “We’re seeing Asia-based supply chains that are adding Mexico-based supply chains, as well.”

Kuehne+Nagel has always had a significant footprint at the border, including Laredo and El Paso, Texas, and in the San Diego-Tijuana, Mexico, area, Goller said.

“What we’re doing now is doubling down on those locations’ investments that we already made there in the past,” Goller said. “We are opening up a new warehouse in El Paso soon, and we are going to move into a new warehouse in Laredo next year.”

The El Paso warehouse will be 363,000 square feet and is scheduled to open by the end of the year.

“The new facilities are going to be more mobile. They are going to be more modern and state-of-the-art facilities,” Goller said. “We are seeing [nearshoring] across a couple of industries. Mexico is very important for the automotive industry, and there’s a couple of things that contribute to it. Mexico has a really skilled labor force, as well as low labor costs. Mexico is geographically really well located. Its neighbor is the largest economy in the world. Mexico also has a large amount of free trade agreements with companies all over the world. This is why Mexico is not just important for the U.S., it’s important overall.”

More articles by Noi Mahoney

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