Mexico’s Top 10 Exports

Mexico’s Top 10 Exports


Mexico shipped US$373.9 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2016, up by 62.8% since 2009 when the Great Recession kicked in but down by -1.8% from 2015 to 2016.

Mexico’s top 10 exports accounted for four-fifths (79.9%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Mexico’s total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $2.307 trillion during 2016. Therefore, exports accounted for about 16.2% of total Mexican economic output compared to 17.2% for 2015.

From a continental perspective, 83.8% 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 5.4%. Latin America and the Caribbean accounted for 5.2% of total Mexican exports compared to 5% for purchasers in Asia.

Given Mexico’s population of 123.2 million people, its total $373.9 billion in 2016 exports translates to roughly $3,000 per resident.

Mexico’s unemployment rate was 3.6% as of January 2016 down from 4.24% 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 2016. 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 and computers.

  1. Vehicles: US$88.1 billion (23.6% of total exports)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: $76.4 billion (20.4%)
  3. Machinery including computers: $61.7 billion (16.5%)
  4. Mineral fuels including oil: $18 billion (4.8%)
  5. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $16.2 billion (4.3%)
  6. Furniture, bedding, lighting , signs, prefab buildings: $10.4 billion (2.8%)
  7. Plastics, plastic articles: $8.4 billion (2.2%)
  8. Gems, precious metals: $7.5 billion (2%)
  9. Vegetables: $6.7 billion (1.8%)
  10. Fruits, nuts: $5.5 billion (1.5%)

Vehicles was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up 160.9% in value over the 7-year period starting in 2009. The category was boosted by improved sales of Mexican-made cars, trucks and automobile parts and accessories.

In second place for improving export sales was furniture, bedding, lighting, signs and prefab buildings which rose 152.6% led by seats, other furniture and lighting products.

Exported fruits and nuts posted Mexico’s third-fastest gain in value up 151%. Notable gainers were avocados, lemons, watermelons, walnuts and strawberries.

Posting the only decliner among the top categories was mineral fuels including oil, down -40.9% from 2009 to 2016. Exported crude oil has the biggest setback followed by refined petroleum.


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$50.8 billion (Up by 233.1% since 2009)
  2. Furniture, bedding, lighting , signs, prefab buildings: $6.6 billion (Up by 179.0%)
  3. Gems, precious metals: $6.4 billion (Up by 22.5%)
  4. Vegetables: $6.3 billion (Up by 91.4%)
  5. Fruits, nuts: $4.6 billion (Up by 189.4%)
  6. Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $3.4 billion (Up by 64.4%)
  7. Ores, slag, ash: $3.2 billion (Up by 487.1%)
  8. Railways, streetcars: $1.9 billion (Up by 471.9%)
  9. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $1.8 billion (Down by -3531.1%)
  10. Cereal/milk preparations: $1.1 billion (Up by 125.2%)

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


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. Overall, Mexico posted a -$13.2 billion trade deficit. This represents a significant increase from a -$4.7 billion product trade deficit for 2009.

  1. Plastics, plastic articles: -US$13.8 billion (Up by 70.6% since 2009)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$7.8 billion (Down by -259.6%)
  3. Mineral fuels including oil: -$7.1 billion (Down by -147.9%)
  4. Iron, steel: -$6.6 billion (Up by 120.2%)
  5. Organic chemicals: -$5.6 billion (Up by 14.5%)
  6. Machinery including computers: -$5.4 billion (Down by -27.1%)
  7. Paper, paper items: -$3.9 billion (Up by 43.2%)
  8. Rubber, rubber articles: -$3.6 billion (Up by 83.5%)
  9. Other chemical goods: -$3.4 billion (Up by 61.8%)
  10. Articles of iron or steel: -$3.4 billion (Up by 76.5%)

Mexico has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for plastics and related 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 2015 Global 2000 rankings, the following companies are examples of leading Mexican companies:

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

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

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

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 16, 2017

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 16, 2017

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 16, 2017

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 16, 2017

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Mexico. Accessed on March 16, 2017

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 16, 2017

Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on March 16, 2017