What is happening to Surface Trade between the NAFTA Countries?
Trade using surface transportation between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, Canada and Mexico, was 6.6 percent higher in June 2012 than in June 2011, totaling $82.6 billion, unadjusted for inflation according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Adjusted for inflation and exchange rates, the June 2012 total was $61.0 billion in 2004 dollars, up 11.0 percent from June 2011.
BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the June 2012 value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico rose 11.4 percent from June 2008, seven months into the recession, and 62.8 percent from June 2009, at the end of the recession.
The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico in June increased by 79.0 percent compared to June 2002, a period of 10 years. Imports in June were up 69.7 percent since June 2002, while exports were up 90.8 percent. Surface transportation includes freight movements by truck, rail, pipeline, mail, Foreign Trade Zones, and vessel. In June, 87.7 percent of U.S. trade by value with Canada and Mexico moved via land, 8.3 percent moved by vessel, and 4.0 percent moved by air.
In June, the value of railed imports between the United States and Canada rose 16.6 percent to $6 billion and value of railed exports soared 25.5 percent to $3 billion. The value of railed imports between the United States and Mexico climbed 16.1 percent to $3.3 billion and value of railed exports increased 7.7 percent to $2.3 billion.
For the same month, the value of trucked imports between the United States and Canada rose 2 percent to $12 billion and value of trucked exports jumped 6.4 percent to $18 billion. The value of trucked imports between the United States and Mexico climbed 8.7 percent to 15.6 billion and value of trucked exports increased 9.6 percent to $11.8 billion.
The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico decreased 1.4 percent in June 2012 from May 2012. It should be noted that truck imports and exports between the United States, Canada and Mexico declined between May and June 2012, while rail imports and exports continue to be strong. Month-to-month changes can be affected by seasonal variations and other factors.
U.S. trade by surface transportation with Mexico has increased at a faster pace than trade with Canada. U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico surface transportation trade in June 2012 both increased compared to June 2011 with U.S.-Canada trade reaching $48.4 billion, a 5.0 percent increase, and U.S.-Mexico trade reaching $34.2 billion, an 8.8 percent increase.
In June, Michigan led all states in surface trade with Canada, at $6.5 billion, a 4.5 percent increase from June 2011. Michigan was followed by Illinois, California, Ohio and Texas. Of the top 10 states by value, California had the largest percentage increase over June 2011, at 55.1 percent. The largest commodity that is traded between California and Canada, vehicles, increased 171.6 percent from June 2011 to June 2012 to $1.66 billion.
The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada by surface modes of transportation in June was vehicles, valued at $9.9 billion. This was followed by oil and gas, computer related machinery and parts, electrical machinery and equipment and plastics.
Texas continued to lead all states in surface trade with Mexico at $12.4 billion, an 11.0 percent increase from June 2011. Of the top 10 states by value, Tennessee had the biggest percentage increase, 21.1 percent, primarily because of a 31.0 percent increase from June 2011 in trade in computer related machinery. The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico by surface modes of transportation in June was electrical machinery with $7.0 billion in trade.