American-Mexican Trade Becomes More Efficient

In June 12th’s graphic detail, The Economist expounds upon a growing discrepancy in U.S.-Mexico trade relations.  While trade between the two countries (in manufactured goods mostly) has grown immensely since signing NAFTA in 1995, border traffic has remained relatively stagnant.  Almost 20 years ago, merchandise trade was valued at under $100 billion, but by 2011, that figure rose to more than $450 billion. In total, bilateral trade was worth over half a trillion dollars.  On the other hand, the number of trucks - the most significant transportation mechanism for America-Mexico trade - has actually fallen in the past decade, experiencing only a slight increase since ’95.  Why the inconsistency?  Christopher E. Wilson of the Border Research Partnership, whose study The Economist highlights, states, “there is an incentive to be as efficient as possible. Trucks are packing more value in the same space. As evidence, the number of loaded truck containers grew faster than the number of trucks crossings (since the 90s), and loaded containers increased much faster than the growth of empty truck containers."  No doubt, the heightened border security has impeded the growth in border crossings, but it appears trade is evolving correspondingly.
SSDAN Office

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