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As reported in a news portal, in 2019 Mexico surpassed China in the commercial exchange with the US, taking into account imports and exports according to US figures. As a result, Mexico became the main trading partner of the US in 2019; accordingly, since 2005 Mexico has not been in said position. Obviously, this displacement is due to the Chinese and US trade conflict, as well as the growth of the US economy.
This is not a novelty, UNCTAD conducted a study on the effects of the US-China trade war on trade flows last year. In short, several countries have occupied part of the “void” that China has left, including Mexico, Taiwan, Vietnam, among others. See our summary of the UNCTAD report for more details here.
According to the figures from the Department of Commerce, Mexico increased its exports to the US 3.47% in 2019 compared to 2018, while China’s exports decreased by 17%, the above is reflected in the following table:
In this regard, the president of the National Association of Importers and Exporters of the Mexican Republic (ANIEM), Gerardo Tejonar Castro, acknowledged that there was no way for the national industry to completely fill the void left by China and said that these results may be temporary because, on the one hand, China has already reached the Phase 1 Agreement.
Legal Amendments & International Trade
After a series of steps to reform Mexico’s Harmonized Tariff Schedule (MHTS) that included public consultations, yesterday the Commission on Economy, Commerce, and Competitiveness of the Chamber of Deputies discussed the new Law on General Import and Export Taxes (LIGIE), as well as reforms and additions to the Customs Law.
The new LIGIE will implement the sixth amendment of the Harmonized System of the World Customs Organization to improve the identification and classification of the goods. In particular, the sixth amendment addresses the classification of the following goods: fishery products, forest products, anti-malaria, chemicals, and technology advances.
Needless to say, the MHTS has not been revised comprehensively since its creation, therefore, the Ministry of Economy took the task of conducting an exhaustive review. In that sense, it is planned to eliminate tariff items by low trade and, therefore, to compact tariff items, and unfolding tariff items for statistical purposes into 10 digits, which will be called Commercial Identification Number, instead of the current 8 digits.