Officially named the United Mexican States, Mexico shares its northern border with the United States and parts of its south-eastern perimeter with Guatemala and Belize.
Mexico exported US$472.3 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a 24% increase since 2015 and a 4.7% uptick from 2018 to 2019.
Exports from Mexico represent 2.5% of global exports shipped from all countries during 2019. That overall amount was $18.740 trillion as estimated by the International Trade Centre as of April 2020.
Applying a continental lens, 84.2% of Mexico’s exports by value were delivered to North American countries while 5.5% were sold to importers in Asia. Mexico shipped another 5.3% worth of goods to Europe with 4.6% going to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Tinier percentages went to Oceania led by Australia and New Zealand (0.2%) then Africa (0.1%).
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 2019. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Mexican exports.
- United States: US$358.9 billion (76% of Mexico’s total exports)
- Canada: $14.1 billion (3%)
- Germany: $7 billion (1.5%)
- China: $6.9 billion (1.5%)
- Taiwan: $6.8 billion (1.4%)
- Brazil: $4.2 billion (0.9%)
- Japan: $3.9 billion (0.8%)
- Colombia: $3.5 billion (0.7%)
- United Kingdom: $2.8 billion (0.6%)
- South Korea: $2.2 billion (0.5%)
- Netherlands: $1.97 billion (0.4%)
- Guatemala: $1.97 billion (0.4%)
- France: $1.54 billion (0.3%)
- Chile: $1.52 billion (0.3%)
- Peru: $1.4 billion (0.3%)
Nearly nine-tenths (88.6%) of Mexican exports in 2018 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
Taiwan led the increases among countries purchasing products exports from Mexico via a 1,533% value expansion from 2018 to 2018. In second place were exporters in the United Kingdom (up 26.2%) trailed by shippers in Japan (up |18.6%) and the United States (up 4%).
Leading the decliners were Chile (down -26.6%), the Netherlands (down -17.3%), Peru (down -15.2%) and France (down -12.9%).
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.
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.
Mexico incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.
- China: -US$76.2 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2019)
- South Korea: -$15.4 billion
- Japan: -$14 billion
- Malaysia: -$11.3 billion
- Germany: -$10.7 billion
- Vietnam: -$5.9 billion
- Thailand: -$5.7 billion
- Italy: -$4.7 billion
- India: -$4.3 billion
- Spain: -$3.3 billion
Among Mexico’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Mexican deficits with Vietnam (up 42%), Malaysia (up 23.7%) and India (up 12.5%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
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.
Overall Mexico posted a $5 billion trade surplus in 2019. That amount reflects a reversal from a -$13.4 billion deficit one year earlier.
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.
Mexico posted the highest trade surpluses with the following countries.
- United States: US$152.8 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2019)
- Canada: $4.3 billion
- Colombia: $1.8 billion
- Guatemala: $1.5 billion
- Panama: $1.2 billion
- Peru: $933.4 million
- Hong Kong: $711.6 million
- Australia: $575.3 million
- El Salvador: $539.2 million
- Ecuador: $503.3 million
Among Mexico’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Mexican surpluses with Hong Kong (up 33.2%), Canada (up 30.6%) and United States (up 18.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
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 Global 2000 rankings, the following companies are examples of major 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)
See also Mexico’s Top 10 Imports, Mexico’s Top 10 Exports, Top Mexican Trade Balances and Mexico’s Top 10 Major Export Companies
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on April 16, 2020
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on April 16, 2020
Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on April 16, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Mexico. Accessed on April 16, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 16, 2020
Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on April 16, 2020