Mexico shipped US$373.9 billion worth of products around the globe in 2016. That figure represents roughly 2.3% of overall global exports estimated at $16.236 trillion one year earlier for 2015.
From a continental perspective, 83.8% of Mexico’s total exports by value in 2016 were delivered to the United States and Canada, fellow co-signers of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). European importers purchased 5.4% of Mexican shipments while 5.2% worth arrived in Latin America and the Caribbean.
At 5%, a smaller portion of Mexican exports were bought by customers in Asia.
Mexico’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 15 of Mexico’s top trading partners in terms of its export sales. That is, countries that imported the most Mexican shipments by dollar value during 2016. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Mexican exports.
- United States: US$303 billion (81% of total Mexican exports)
- Canada: $10.4 billion (2.8%)
- China: $5.4 billion (1.4%)
- Germany: $4 billion (1.1%)
- Japan: $3.8 billion (1%)
- Spain: $3.3 billion (0.9%)
- United Kingdom: $3.2 billion (0.9%)
- Colombia: $3.1 billion (0.8%)
- Brazil: $3.1 billion (0.8%)
- South Korea: $2.5 billion (0.7%)
- India: $2 billion (0.5%)
- France: $2 billion (0.5%)
- Chile: $1.7 billion (0.5%)
- Guatemala: $1.7 billion (0.5%)
- Netherlands: $1.6 billion (0.4%)
Over nine-tenths (93.8%) of Mexican exports in 2016 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
South Korea led the gainers among countries purchasing Mexican products via a 401.7% increase in value from 2009 to 2016. The leader was trailed by France (up 303%), United Kingdom (up 160%), China (up 144.8%) and Japan (up 135.7%).
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit. Overall, Mexico posted a -$13.2 billion trade deficit in 2016 up from a -$4.7 billion product trade deficit for 2009.
It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
In 2016, Mexico incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:
- China: -US$64.1 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2016)
- Japan: -$14 billion
- South Korea: -$11.1 billion
- Germany: -$9.9 billion
- Malaysia: -$7.7 billion
- Taiwan: -$6.6 billion
- Thailand: -$4.9 billion
- Italy: -$3.7 billion
- Vietnam: -$3 billion
- India: -$2.2 billion
Among Mexico’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Mexican deficits with India (up 7,946%), Vietnam (up 480.7%) and Thailand (up 161.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2009 to 2016.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Mexico’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Mexico to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
In 2016, Mexico incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:
- United States: US$123 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2016)
- Colombia: $2 billion
- Guatemala: $1.2 billion
- United Kingdom: $1.1 billion
- Panama: $848 million
- Peru: $847.4 million
- Canada: $796.3 million
- Dominican Republic: $759.2 million
- Costa Rica: $524.4 million
- Argentina: $511.9 million
Among Mexico’s trading partners that cause the greatest positive trade balances, Mexicon surpluses with Peru (up 267.5%), Dominican Republic (up 92.5%) and Guatemala (up 77.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2009 to 2016.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Mexico’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Mexico to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Major Mexican Companies Servicing Trading Partners
According to Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, the following companies are examples of major 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)
See also Mexico’s Top 10 Imports, Highest Value Mexican Import Products, Mexico’s Top 10 Exports, Highest Value Mexican Export Products and Top Mexican Trade Balances
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 16, 2017
Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on March 16, 2017
Investopedia, Net Importer 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 4, 2016