Mexico exported US$494.6 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2021 up by 20.8% since 2017. From 2020 to 2021, the total value of Mexican exports rose 18.6% from 2020 to 2021.
Home to 129 million residents, Mexico represents 1.6% of the 7.9 trillion people living on the planet during 2021. In comparison, Mexico’s $494.6 billion worth of exports translates to 2.3% of total global exports estimated to be $21.513 trillion for 2021.
Applying a continental lens, 84.5% of Mexico’s exports by value were delivered to fellow North American countries while 5.9% were sold to importers in Asia. Mexico shipped another 5.1% worth of goods to Europe.
Tinier percentages arrived in Latin America (4.2%), Oceania led by Australia and New Zealand (0.2%) and Africa (0.1%).
Mexico’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 25 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 2021. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Mexican exports.
- United States: US$386.1 billion (78.1% of Mexico’s total exports)
- Canada: $12.9 billion (2.6%)
- China: $9.1 billion (1.8%)
- Taiwan: $7.5 billion (1.5%)
- Germany: $7.4 billion (1.5%)
- Japan: $4 billion (0.8%)
- Brazil: $3.5 billion (0.7%)
- Colombia: $3.4 billion (0.7%)
- South Korea: $3.3 billion (0.7%)
- United Kingdom: $3 billion (0.6%)
- Guatemala: $2.4 billion (0.5%)
- Netherlands: $2.1 billion (0.4%)
- Chile: $1.9 billion (0.4%)
- Peru: $1.5 billion (0.3%)
- Spain: $1.43 billion (0.3%)
- El Salvador: $1.39 billion (0.3%)
- Panama: $1.33 billion (0.3%)
- France: $1.31 billion (0.3%)
- Belgium: $1.23 billion (0.2%)
- Switzerland: $1.21 billion (0.2%)
- Honduras: $997 million (0.2%)
- Australia: $974.4 million (0.2%)
- Costa Rica: $958.1 million (0.2%)
- Nicaragua: $941.3 million (0.2%)
- Italy: $903.8 million (0.2%)
By value, more than nine-tenths (93.2%) of Mexican exports in 2020 were delivered to the above 25 trade partners.
Increasing their purchases of goods exported from Mexico at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021 were importers in: Taiwan (up 73.2%), El Salvador (up 48.3%), Chile (up 47%), Honduras (up 38.3%), Colombia (30.8%) and Nicaragua (also up 30.8%).
There was a trio of decliners in their imports from Mexico namely Italy (down -14.3%), Belgium (down -10.6%) and South Korea (down -3.5%).
Countries Causing Mexico’s Worst Trade Deficits
Mexico received an overall -$12 billion trade deficit in 2021. That amount of red ink compares to a $34 billion trade surplus one year earlier in 2020.
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.
- Mainland China: -US$91.9 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2021)
- South Korea: -$15.7 billion
- Japan: -$13.1 billion
- Malaysia: -$12.2 billion
- Germany: -$9.8 billion
- Vietnam: -$8.5 billion
- Thailand: -$6.2 billion
- Brazil: -$5.25 billion
- India: -$5.24 billion
- Italy: -$5.2 billion
Among Mexico’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Mexico’s deficits with 3 of the world’s biggest emerging economies Brazil (up 100.9%), India (up 50.3%) and mainland China (up 39.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
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.
Countries Behind Mexico’s Greatest 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.
- United States: US$164.8 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2021)
- Colombia: $2 billion
- Guatemala: $1.8 billion
- Canada: $1.7 billion
- Panama: $1.3 billion
- El Salvador: $1.1 billion
- United Kingdom: $902.3 million
- Peru: $888.6 million
- Australia: $657.3 million
- Dominican Republic: $489.3 million
Among Mexico’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Mexico’s surpluses with El Salvador (up 55.9%), Peru (up 41.6%) and Dominican Republic (up 40.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
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, Mexico’s Top 10 Major Export Companies and United States Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on May 17, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 17, 2022
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on May 17, 2022
Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on May 17, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Mexico. Accessed on May 17, 2022
Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on May 17, 2022