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  • The China-Mexico-US triangle
  • Could there be a US-Mexico trade war?
  • The bilateral trade deficit has exploded since Donald Trump was president
  • MEXICAN AND US officials were cheered by trade data released in February. It showed that Mexico overtook China in 2023 to become the number-one exporter to the United States (see chart). The value of goods sold has been rising steadily, and reached almost $476bn for the year; the equivalent figure for Chinese goods fell sharply, from $536bn in 2022 to $427bn in 2023.

    The last time Mexico overtook China, in 2002, it was a blip (and Canada held the top spot). Today its rise has the whiff of a new order for global trade. Data for January 2024 show the trend remains strong. United States’ efforts to decouple from China and bring supply chains closer to home are intensifying, pushing trade through other countries. An updated free-trade agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada, known as USMCA, has been in force since 2020. It supports Mexican exports of car parts, medical supplies and agricultural products to the United States.

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