MEXICO – The President Donald Trump has threatened to rip up NAFTA. To shut the border with Mexico. To impose tariffs on the thriving car industry in Mexico.
“They’re killing us on jobs and trade,” he said as a candidate.
And yet, two years into his presidency, a strange thing has happened, Mexico has become the No. 1 U.S. trading partner.
U.S. census data released last week showed that Mexico’s trade with the United States rose to US$97.4 billion for the first two months of the year — enabling it to leapfrog ahead of Canada (US$92.4 billion) and China (US$90.4 billion).
Economists note that a major reason Mexico looked so good was that U.S. trade with China shrunk by more than 10% in January and February compared with the same period in 2018. That was because of trade disputes and seasonal factors.
Still, the numbers show that Mexico is an increasingly vital economic partner of the United States, despite Trump’s frequent disparagement of the country.
“Mexico is a very important market for the United States, and it’s going to become the biggest market for the United States in the world”, stressed Luis de la Calle, a former undersecretary of the economy of Mexico.