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Honda plant in Celaya, Guanjuato Mexico's biggest export to the United States in 2021 was vehicles.

Mexico slips back into No. 1 position as United States’ chief trading partner

Mexico, China and Canada have near equal trade values with the U.S.

Mexico was the United States’ chief trading partner in the first two months of the year by a fine margin, knocking Canada off the top spot.

Mexico had US $113.19 billion trade with its northern neighbor in January and February, according to the United States Census Bureau, with an $18.4 billion trade surplus in Mexico’s favor.

China and Canada have almost the same value of trade with the U.S. as Mexico.

Fractionally behind Mexico, the second biggest trading partner with the U.S. over the two-month period was China, which had $113.18 billion of trade. Canada was third on $112.93 billion of trade, followed by Japan and Germany which both had less than a third as much trade with the U.S.

Economy Minister Tatiana Clouthier celebrated the news on Twitter.

“Today the United States Census Bureau gave us the news that during the first two months of 2022, Mexico was placed as the #1 trading partner of the U.S. with a total trade of $113.19 billion. We will continue to strengthen our productive integration,” she wrote.

Mexico fell to second place in 2021, surpassed by Canada, despite achieving a record trade surplus of $108 billion. Last year, Canada accounted for 14.5% of U.S. international trade, Mexico had 14.4% and China had 14.3%. In November and December, Mexico slipped to become the United States’ third largest trading partner.

However, the countries are far from equal when it comes to their U.S. trade surpluses: China was by far the biggest exporter to the U.S. of the three countries.

Speaking at a summit with U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in November, President López Obrador said economic integration was “the best instrument to face up to the competition derived from the growth of other regions of the world, particularly the productive and commercial expansion of China.”

He added at the time that the global economic imbalance could lead to eventual conflict. “In another 30 years, by 2051, China will control 42% of the global market and the United States, Mexico and Canada will be left with 12%, which in addition to being an unacceptable disproportion in the economic sphere, would keep alive the temptation of betting on the use of force to resolve this disparity, which would endanger all of us,” the president said, before urging the North American leaders to make the region more economically self-sufficient.

With reports from Milenio

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