Mexico’s Top 10 Exports

Mexico’s Top 10 Exports


Mexico shipped US$409.5 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017, up by 7.8% since 2013 and up by 9.5% from 2016 to 2017.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Mexico’s exported goods plus services represent 37.4% of total Mexican economic output or Gross Domestic Product. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, 82.7% of Mexican exports by value were delivered to the United States and Canada–fellow members of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In contrast, the value of Mexican shipments to European importers was 5.9%. Latin America and the Caribbean accounted for 5.2% of total Mexican exports compared to 5.6% for purchasers in Asia.

Given Mexico’s population of 124.6 million people, its total $409.5 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $3,300 per resident.

Mexico’s unemployment rate was 3.4% as of January 2018 down from 3.6% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics.

Mexico’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Mexican global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Mexico.

At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Mexico’s number one exported product is cars followed by automobile parts and accessories, trucks, computers, crude oil then mobile phones.

  1. Vehicles: US$101.7 billion (24.8% of total exports)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: $81.6 billion (19.9%)
  3. Machinery including computers: $65.9 billion (16.1%)
  4. Mineral fuels including oil: $22.6 billion (5.5%)
  5. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $17.5 billion (4.3%)
  6. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $10.7 billion (2.6%)
  7. Plastics, plastic articles: $9 billion (2.2%)
  8. Gems, precious metals: $7 billion (1.7%)
  9. Vegetables: $6.7 billion (1.6%)
  10. Fruits, nuts: $6.6 billion (1.6%)

Mexico’s top 10 exports accounted for four-fifths (80.4%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Mineral fuels including oil was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up 24.9% in value from 2016 to 2017. The category was boosted by improved sales of Mexican crude oil.

In second place for improving export sales were fruits and nuts which rose 18.5% led by avocados, lemons, watermelons, strawberries and walnuts.

Exported vehicles posted Mexico’s third-fastest gain in value up 15.5% year over year thanks to stronger international sales of Mexican-made cars.

Posting the only decliner among the top categories was the gems and precious metals category, down -6.1% from 2016 to 2017. Gold, jewelry and diamonds posted the biggest setbacks.


The following types of Mexican product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports is the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Vehicles: US$60.1 billion (Up by 18.2% since 2016)
  2. Furniture, bedding, lighting , signs, prefab buildings: $6.8 billion (Up by 3.6%)
  3. Vegetables: $6.2 billion (Up by 0.5%)
  4. Gems, precious metals: $6 billion (Down by -5.2%)
  5. Fruits, nuts: $5.6 billion (Up by 20.8%)
  6. Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $4.6 billion (Up by 33.8%)
  7. Ores, slag, ash: $4.1 billion (Up by 27.4%)
  8. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $2.3 billion (Up by 32.2%)
  9. Cereal/milk preparations: $1.4 billion (Up by 27.1%)
  10. Railways, streetcars: $1.3 billion (Down by -30.7%)

Mexico has highly positive net exports in the international trade of cars, trucks and other automotive products. In turn, these cashflows indicate Mexico’s strong competitive advantages under the vehicles product category.


Overall Mexico posted a -$10.2 billion trade deficit in 2017. This represents a -17.3% decrease from a -$13.2 billion deficit one year earlier.

Below are exports from Mexico that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Mexico’s goods trail Mexican importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Plastics, plastic articles: -US$14.2 billion (Up by 3% since 2016)
  2. Mineral fuels including oil: -$12.9 billion (Up by 85.1%)
  3. Iron, steel: -$7.7 billion (Up by 16%)
  4. Organic chemicals: -$6.8 billion (Up by 21.7%)
  5. Machinery including computers: -$5.2 billion (Down by -4.3%)
  6. Aluminum: -$4.5 billion (Up by 40.6%)
  7. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$4.2 billion (Down by -45.8%)
  8. Paper, paper items: -$4 billion (Up by 3.9%)
  9. Rubber, rubber articles: -$4 billion (Up by 11.9%)
  10. Cereals: -$3.8 billion (Up by 14.7%)

Mexico has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for plastics and products made with plastics.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Mexico’s competitive disadvantages in the international plastics market, but also represent key opportunities for Mexico to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations.


Mexican Export Companies

According to Forbes Global 2000 rankings, the following companies are examples of leading Mexican companies:

  • ALFA (petrochemicals, auto parts, food)
  • Arca Continental (soft drinks, bottling)
  • Cemex (construction materials)
  • FEMSA (alcoholic beverages)
  • Grupo Bimbo (bakery products)
  • Grupo Mexico (metals, mining)
  • Grupo Modelo (brewery)
  • Industrias Peñoles (silver, gold, zinc, lead)

According to global trade intelligence firm Zepol, the following smaller companies are also examples of leading Mexican exporters:

  • Autotek Mexico (vehicles, automotive parts)
  • Manufacturera Lee De Mexico (clothing, accessories)
  • Sitwell S A DE (chairs, seats)
  • Tubos De Acero De Mexico (casing, tubing, pipes, iron/steel bridges)

Mexico’s capital city is Mexico City.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also Mexico’s Top Trading Partners, Highest Value Mexican Export Products and Top Mexican Trade Balances

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 2, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 2, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 2, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 2, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Mexico. Accessed on March 2, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 2, 2018

Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on March 2, 2018