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MIAMI: August 17, 2017. Miami International Airport has reported a 4.8 percent growth in cargo traffic for the first half of 2017 with domestic traffic rising 8.3 percent and international airfreight growing 3.7 percent year-on-year.

Mexican air carriers produced a 308 percent rise in volume during the first six months helped by the introduction last December of a twice-weekly freighter service between Miami, Mexico City and Mérida by B767/A300 operator AeroUnion.

AERUNION767MIAAccording to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), Mexico is America's third largest goods market with two-way trade valued at US$531 billion in 2015 that supports at least 1.1 million U.S. jobs.

"Miami has long been known as the Gateway to Latin America, but we are undoubtedly evolving from a regional hub to a truly global trade and logistics gateway," said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez. "MIA's growth in business, reach and prominence is just another example of that."

Following a year focusing on developing itself as a global pharma hub that resulted in a 48 percent jump in airfreight value to US$4.4 billion by the end of 2016, MIA is now planning to roll out some additional initiatives: An FTZ magnet site designation to allow manufacturers to lease vacant property at MIA and have their tariffs deferred, reduced or eliminated; and the first phase of a Cargo Optimization, Redevelopment and Expansion (CORE) program to renovate MIA's cargo infrastructure and double its capacity.

"To grow our cargo tonnage by nearly five percent overall is significant, especially when you consider that some South American economies are still rebounding from a difficult year in 2016," said Miami-Dade Aviation director Emilio González. "We're confident in the work and attention we've invested into – and continue to devote to – enhancing our cargo operations at MIA and look forward to closing 2017 with even stronger numbers," he added.

The Trump Administration began talks to renegotiate NAFTA on August 16 with USTR head Robert Lighthizer claiming that the 1994 trade agreement with Mexico and Canada "has fundamentally failed many, many Americans".