China Passes Mexico for U.S. Exports

In January, Mexico exported $12.106 billion in goods to the U.S., an 8.4% increase over the same period in 2004. At the same time China’s exports to the U.S. soared to $17.864 billion, a hefty 27% growth.

“Growth in demand helped push Mexico’s exports to the U.S.,” says bank Banamex analyst Eduardo Nolasco, “but exports from China to the U.S. is making the most out of that demand.”

Mexico also showed a $2.909 billion trade surplus, which was down 2.2% percent for the same month last year. China showed a $15.255 billion dollar surplus, up 32.9% year over year.

Mexico exported electronic gadgetry, machinery, audio and video equipment, vehicles, auto parts and oil, with a marked decrease in garment and shoe exports.

“The decrease in the purchase of Mexican products is contrasting with the increase shown by Chinese products, except of course in the auto parts industry in which China is no match for Mexico,” notes Nolasco.

Mexican auto parts manufacturers traveled to China in search of a piece of the Chinese import cake, which amounted to $570 billion in 2004. China imported $13 billion in auto parts alone.

There are more than 1,000 auto parts factories in Mexico, 70% of which are foreign owned.

The mission to China was seeking to strike strategic alliances and joint investment ventures with Chinese counterparts, according to Mexico’s National Auto parts Industry Association president, Ramon Suarez. He says the industry represents 10% of Mexico’s GDP, hiring nearly 1.1 million workers. Suarez adds that at present, the U. S. is importing 76% of total exports but that installed manufacturing capacity could easily expand to include China. Canada imports 4% of Mexico’s auto parts output.

The mission that traveled to China, known as “The China Group,” represented 27 companies from 10 different industrial cities.

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