NAFTA Trade Continues to Grow

Though the world economy is suffering, through September 2008—the government’s most current statistics—the value of US surface trade with Canada and Mexico was up $58.8 billion over 2007, a boost of 8.8%.

Focusing on September alone, trade using surface transportation between the US and its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners was $71.8 billion, higher by 7.5% than in 2007. The surface modes monitored in the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) trade report are truck, rail and pipeline. Overall, imports from the NAFTA countries declined by 4.8% year over year in September, while exports grew by 16.1%.

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Trade with Canada during September was up 9.7% year over year, at $46.8 billion. By far, trucking is the major mode of cross border traffic. In September, the value of imports carried by truck was the same as in 2007, while the value of exports to Canada was up 2.6%.

During September, overall surface trade with Mexico at $25.0 billion represents a 3.8% gain year over year. The value of imports carried by truck during the month was down 0.7%, while the value of exports grew by 16.6%.

In order, the top five states for surface trade with Canada in September were Michigan, Illinois, New York, Ohio and California. The top five states for surface trade with Mexico in the month were Texas, California, Michigan, Illinois and Ohio.

The BTS has issued final figures for US freight shipment with Canada and Mexico for all of 2007. For the year, goods valued at $909 billion crossed the border, which was 4.9% higher than in 2006. These total figures include those for air and water transport as well as for surface trade. By mode, here are the percentages of freight movements during 2007: truck, 61%; rail, 15%; pipeline 8%; ocean, 7%; and air, 4%.

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