Mexico Passes China as Top U.S. Importer

There’s a new leader in the clubhouse when it comes to importing goods to the United States.

For the first time in more than 20 years, Mexico passed China as the leading source of goods imported to this country.

U.S. Commerce Department statistics released Wednesday show that the value of goods imported to the United States from Mexico rose to more than $475 billion, up nearly 5% from 2022 to 2023. During the same period, the value of Chinese imports fell 20% to $427 billion.

The last time that Mexican goods imported to the United States exceeded the value of China’s imports was in 2002, the Associated Press reported.

Mexico has been among the beneficiaries of the growing shift away from reliance on Chinese factories, according to the AP report. Some Chinese manufacturers have established factories in Mexico to exploit the benefits of the 3-year-old U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, which allows for duty-free trade in North America for many products.

The AP quoted Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador saying this week that the trade status gives Mexico new leverage, and that it would make it hard for the U.S. to close the two countries’ border to limit immigration, as suggested in negotiations on a border bill in the U.S. Senate.

“The negotiation is proposing closing the border,” he said. “Do you think Americans, or Mexicans, but especially the Americans, would approve that? The businesses wouldn’t take it, maybe one day, but not a week.”

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Brad Kadrich
Brad Kadrich is an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years’ experience, most recently as an editor/content coach for the Observer & Eccentric Newspapers and Hometown Life, managing 10 newspapers in Wayne and Oakland counties. He was born in Detroit, grew up in Warren and spent 15 years in the U.S. Air Force, primarily producing base newspapers and running media and community relations operations.