Mexico’s Top Trading Partners

Mexico's Top Trading Partners

Palm trees on Mexican beach

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 shipped US$409.5 billion worth of products around the globe in 2017. That figure represents roughly 2.6% of overall global exports estimated at $15.952 trillion one year earlier in 2016.

From a continental perspective, 82.7% of Mexico’s total exports by value in 2017 were delivered to the United States and Canada, fellow co-signers of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). European importers purchased 5.9% of Mexican shipments while 5.2% worth arrived in Latin America and the Caribbean, with 5.6% going to Asian countries.

At 0.2%, a much smaller portion of Mexican exports were bought by customers in Africa.

Mexico’s Top Trading Partners

Top 15

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 2017. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Mexican exports.

  1. United States: US$327.4 billion (79.9% of total Mexican exports)
  2. Canada: $11.4 billion (2.8%)
  3. Germany: $7 billion (1.7%)
  4. China: $6.7 billion (1.6%)
  5. Spain: $4.2 billion (1%)
  6. Japan: $4.1 billion (1%)
  7. Brazil: $3.7 billion (0.9%)
  8. South Korea: $3.4 billion (0.8%)
  9. India: $3.4 billion (0.8%)
  10. Colombia: $3.2 billion (0.8%)
  11. United Kingdom: $2.3 billion (0.6%)
  12. Belgium: $2.1 billion (0.5%)
  13. Netherlands: $2 billion (0.5%)
  14. France: $1.9 billion (0.5%)
  15. Chile: $1.8 billion (0.4%)

Well over nine-tenths (93.9%) of Mexican exports in 2017 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.

Germany led the gainers among countries purchasing Mexican products via a 76% increase in value from 2016 to 2017. German purchasers were trailed by India (up 58.1%), Belgium (up 43.1%) and South Korea (up 36.8%).

Deficits

Overall Mexico posted a -$10.2 billion trade deficit in 2017. This represents a -17.3% decrease from a -$13.2 billion deficit for 2016.

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:

  1. China: -US$67.4 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2017)
  2. Japan: -$14.1 billion
  3. South Korea: -$12.3 billion
  4. Germany: -$9.5 billion
  5. Malaysia: -$7.2 billion
  6. Taiwan: -$7 billion
  7. Thailand: -$5.4 billion
  8. Italy: -$4.8 billion
  9. Vietnam: -$4.3 billion
  10. Philippines: -$2.2 billion

Among Mexico’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Mexican deficits with Vietnam (up 45.5%), Italy (up 31%) and South Korea (up 11%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

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.

Surpluses

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:

  1. United States: US$132.4 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2017)
  2. Canada: $1.6 billion
  3. Colombia: $1.5 billion
  4. Guatemala: $1.2 billion
  5. Peru: $997.3 million
  6. Venezuela: $961.7 million
  7. Belgium: $916.3 million
  8. Australia: $845.8 million
  9. Panama: $805.2 million
  10. Argentina: $681 million

Among Mexico’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Mexican surpluses with Australia (up 174%), Belgium (up 142.5%) and Venezuela (up 125.5%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

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.

Companies

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

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 3, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on March 3, 2018

Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on March 3, 2018
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Mexico. Accessed on March 3, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 3, 2018

Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on March 4, 2016