Mexico’s Main Exports

By Mayra Salazar | Guanajuato Customs Leader at American Industries Group®
Published 02/11/2022

A significant part of Mexico’s economy is based on international trade, with exports representing 18.5% of its gross domestic product in 2021. Exports have grown steadily for decades, and the country has developed clear strengths in several sectors, mainly the automotive industry in Mexico, as well as electrical machinery and equipment, and computers, among others. In addition, the country has several areas of opportunity and a strong outlook for continued growth in exports with increased participation in global markets.

In 2021, Mexico exported US 494.6 billion in goods internationally. This is an increase from the previous year and from pre-COVID levels. Although Mexico sends most of the goods it produces to its northern neighbors, with 78% going to the United States and 2.6% to Canada, 5.9% were sent to Asia, and another 5.5% to Europe.

Because of this, Mexico has developed industry to cater to US needs, with its biggest export products being cars, computers, trucks, automotive parts or accessories, and crude oil. These five categories made up almost a third of its total exports.

automotive industry in mexico

The automotive industry in Mexico exported US 115 billion in 2021, equivalent to 23.3% of total exports. The industry overall has grown steadily, and Mexico is the world leader in truck exports. The country’s US 75.9 billion trade surplus for vehicle exports reflects Mexico’s strong competitive advantage for manufacturers.

After vehicles, Mexico’s remaining top ten exports are:

  1. Electrical machinery, equipment: $87.1 billion (17.6%)
  2. Machinery, including computers: $85.3 billion (17.2%)
  3. Mineral fuels, including oil: $27.6 billion (5.6%)
  4. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $20.6 billion (4.2%)
  5. Plastics, plastic articles: $11.4 billion (2.3%)
  6. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: $11.1 billion (2.2%)
  7. Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $10 billion (2%)
  8. Gems, precious metals: $9.31 billion (1.9%)
  9. Vegetables: $8.6 billion (1.7%)

From this list, Mexico also has a substantial trade surplus in the furniture industry of US 7 billion, and its most in-demand goods on a more detailed level are cars, computer and optical readers, trucks, auto parts and accessories, crude oil, TV receivers/monitors/projectors, insulated wire and cable, phone devices (including smartphones), medical/dental/veterinary instruments, and tractors.

electronic device manufacturing in Mexico

These numbers reflect its strength in the manufacturing sector, especially in the automotive, medical device, and electronic device manufacturing in Mexico, and its opportunities for growth in other areas. With its openness to trade and numerous trade agreements, Mexico can leverage its strengths and focus on innovation to continue gaining a position in the global economy.

Reference: Workman, Daniel (s.f.). Mexico’s Top 10 Exports.

Mayra Salazar

Guanajuato Customs Leader

American Industries Group®

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