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IPFS News Link • Economy - International

Mexico overtakes China as the leading source of goods imported to U.S.

• https://www-pbs-org, By Paul Wiseman

The shift reflects the growing tensions between Washington and Beijing as well as U.S. efforts to import from countries that are friendlier and closer to home.

Figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Commerce Department show that the value of goods imported to the United States from Mexico rose nearly 5 percent from 2022 to 2023, to more than $475 billion. At the same time, the value of Chinese imports imports tumbled 20 percent to $427 billion.

The last time that Mexican goods imported to the United States exceeded the value of China's imports was in 2002.

Economic relations between the United States and China have severely deteriorated in recent years as Beijing has fought aggressively on trade and made ominous military gestures in the Far East. The Trump administration began imposing tariffs on Chinese imports in 2018, arguing that Beijing's trade practices violated global trade rules.

President Joe Biden retained those tariffs after taking office in 2021, making clear that antagonism toward China would be a rare area of common ground for Democrats and Republicans.

As an alternative to offshoring production to China, which U.S. corporations had long engaged in, the Biden administration has urged companies to seek suppliers in allied countries ("friend-shoring") or to return manufacturing to the United States ("reshoring"). Supply-chain disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic also led U.S. companies to seek supplies closer to the United States ("near-shoring").

Mexico has been among the beneficiaries of the shift away from reliance on Chinese factories. But the picture is more complicated than it might seem. Some Chinese manufacturers have established factories in Mexico to exploit the benefits of the 3-year-old U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, which allows for duty-free trade in North America for many products.

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