Overall, Mexico posted a $5 billion trade surplus in 2019 when all exported and imported products are included in the calculation. That dollar amount in black ink reverses a -$44.7 million deficit 7 years earlier in 2012.
Year over year, Mexico’s $5 billion trade surplus in 2019 represents a reversal from the -$13.4 billion deficit that North America’s southernmost nation racked up during 2018.
From a products perspective, refined petroleum oils, integrated circuits or microassemblies, and computer parts or accessories were major factors causing Mexico’s highest trade deficits.
China, South Korea, Japan and Malaysia were the trade partners with which Mexico experienced the highest negative trade balances.
Top Mexican Trade Balances by Product and Country
The following 10 leading products generated a surplus subtotal of $149 billion for Mexico in its global trade during 2019. Metrics listed below highlight Mexico’s strongest competitive advantages over worldwide trading partners.
- Cars: US$40.2 billion (Up 86.6% since 2012)
- Trucks: $24.5 billion (Up 93.2%)
- Crude oil: $22.5 billion (Down -51.9%)
- Computers, optical readers: $22 billion (Up 118.1%)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $10.2 billion (Down -31.3%)
- Tractors: $9.4 billion (Up 65.6%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $7.2 billion (Up 72.3%)
- Electro-medical equipment (e.g. xrays): $4.8 billion (Up 73.5%)
- Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs): $4.2 billion (Up 36%)
- Malt beer: $4.1 billion (Up 105.5%)
Eight of Mexico’s top product surpluses rose in value from 2012 to 2019 led by: computers including optical readers (up 118.1%), malt beer (up 105.5%), trucks (up 93.2%), cars (up 86.6%) then electro-medical equipment such as xrays (up 73.5%).
Positive trade balances for two of the remaining top products diminished over the 7-year period, namely crude oil (down -51.9%) and TV receivers, monitors or projectors (down -31.3%).
The 10 major products below accumulated a deficit subtotal of -$81.4 billion for Mexico in international trade during 2019. Mexico has demonstrated the severest competitive disadvantages in the exports and imports of the following commodities.
- Processed petroleum oils: -US-$27.5 billion (Up 23.8% since 2012)
- Integrated circuits/microassemblies: -$19.1 billion (Up 87.8%)
- Computer parts, accessories: -$8.2 billion (Up 75.9%)
- Petroleum gases: -$8.1 billion (Up 111%)
- Engines (diesel): -$3.6 billion (Up 55.6%)
- TV/radio/radar device parts: -$3.2 billion (Down -64.6%)
- Corn: -$2 billion (Up 8.5%)
- Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools: -$2.95 billion (Up 1.7%)
- Miscellaneous plastic items: -$2.92 billion (Up 28.6%)
- Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers: -$2,8 billion (Up 38.6%)
Mexico’s red ink in global trade expanded for 9 of these top products from 2012 to 2019 led by: petroleum gases (up 111), integrated circuits and microassemblies (up 87.8%), computer parts or accessories (up 75.9%) then diesel engines (up 55.6%).
The sole shrinkage in product-specific deficit was the -64.6% reduction over the seven-year period for television, radio and radar device parts.
In 2019, Mexico generated a surplus subtotal worth $164.9 billion with the following 10 trading partners.
- United States: US$152.8 billion (Up 49% since 2012)
- Canada: $4.3 billion (Up 317.2%)
- Colombia: $1.8 billion (Down -61.5%)
- Guatemala: $1.5 billion (Up 21.4%)
- Panama: $1.2 billion (Up 16%)
- Peru: $933.4 million (Down -14.2%)
- Hong Kong: $711.6 million (Up 46.4%)
- Australia: $575.3 million (Up 278.8%)
- El Salvador: $539.2 million (Up 7.2%)
- Ecuador: $503.3 million (Down -34.4%)
Gaining at the fastest percentage pace from 2012 to 2019 were Mexican surpluses with Canada (up 317.2%), Australia (up 278.8%), the United States (up 49%) and Hong Kong (up 46.4%).
Over the seven-year period, Mexico’s trade surplus declined with three of its top partners: Colombia (down -61.5%), Ecuador (down -34.4%) and Peru (down -14.2%).
Mexico experienced money-losing international trade relationships with 117 countries, islands or territories. The following 10 trade partners created a -$151.5 billion deficit subtotal for Mexico from exchanging exports and imports in 2019.
- China: -US$76.2 billion (Up 48.8% since 2012)
- South Korea: -$15.4 billion (Up 32.5%)
- Japan: -$14 billion (Down -6.6%)
- Malaysia: -$11.3 billion (Up 149.8%)
- Germany: -$10.7 billion (Up 18.4%)
- Vietnam: -$5.9 billion (Up 454.2%)
- Thailand: -$5.7 billion (Up 66.7%)
- Italy: -$4.7 billion (Up 12.9%)
- India: -$4.3 billion (Reversing a $370.7 million surplus in 2012)
- Spain: -$3.3 billion (Reversing a $3 billion surplus in 2012)
Up 454.2%, Mexico’s trade deficit with Vietnam grew at the fastest percentage pace from 2012 to 2019. In second place, Mexico’s negative net exports with Malaysia expanded by 149.8% trailed by red ink increases with Thailand (up 66.7%) and China (up 48.8%).
In contrast, the amount of red ink Mexico experienced trading with Japan shrank by -6.6% since 2012.
See also Mexico’s Top 10 Imports, Mexico’s Top Trading Partners, Top Mexican Trade Balances and Mexico’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on April 16, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 16, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 16, 2020
Trading Economics, Mexico Total External Debt: Summary. Accessed on April 16, 2020
Wikipedia, Economy of Mexico. Accessed on April 16, 2020