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No additional trade tariffs warns Mexico

DETROIT, MI: March 06, 2017. Addressing executives from the U.S. auto industry, Mexico Secretary of Commerce Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal has reiterated his government's opposition to additional tariffs or quantitative restrictions on trade with the U.S.

Villarreal said that thanks to NAFTA the automotive industry had become "a pillar of the economic relationship" between Mexico and Michigan and added that his country is quite ready to modernize and strengthen the existing treaty for the future benefit of all parties.

His visit coincided with the release of 2016 trade data from the U.S. Department of Transportation showing the value of NAFTA cross-border trade by truck, air, sea, pipeline and rail fell 3.4 percent last year to US$1.069 trillion.

NAFTA US Mexico trade 2016 by stateFrom 2015 to 2016 the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows fell 5.4 percent to US$544.0 billion with trucks carrying 60.1 percent of the value followed by rail with 16.2 percent. Air cargo accounted for 4.8 percent of the total.

In the same period the value of U.S.-Mexico freight fell 1.1 percent to US$525.1 billion as trucks carried 71 percent and rail 14.7 percent. Airfreight totaled 3.0 percent by value.

Michigan and its auto industry was the leading U.S. state for U.S.-Canada trade flows valued at $71.8 billion, an increase of 3.9 percent over 2015.

The top commodity between the U.S. and Canada last year was vehicles and related parts valued at US$106.1 billion, with US$59.8 billion moving by truck.

Texas remained the No.1 U.S. state trading with Mexico in 2016 with a value of US$173.7 billion, while Michigan had the highest percent change year-on-year with a rise of 11.0 percent (see table right).

The top commodity between the U.S. and Mexico last year was electrical machinery at US$102.6 billion, with US$94.0 billion moved by truck, followed by vehicles and parts with $43.7 billion moved by rail.

As Villarreal was visiting Michigan, recently-appointed Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos met with government and industry representatives in Mexico City to discuss trade prospects in the light of Donald Trump's vituperative comments about their country.

"I was highly encouraged by my meetings and discussions this week with public and private sector leaders in Mexico," Pablos said. "By continuing a robust dialogue, Texas and Mexico can forge even stronger bonds and bring greater economic prosperity on both sides of the border," he declared.

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