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March Surface Trade with Canada and Mexico Exceeds $85 Billion for First Time

May 30, 2012

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Surface trade between the U.S. and its North American Free Trade Agreement partners, Canada and Mexico, was 6.2% higher in March 2012 than in March 2011, totaling $85.8 billion, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
March 2012 was the highest month for NATFA trade value since collection of data began in 1994, exceeding $85 billion for the first time and topping the previous record of $80.8 billion in March 2011.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the March 2012 value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico rose 21.2% from March 2008, early in the recession, and 68.1% from March 2009, late in the recession. Numbers are not adjusted for inflation.

The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico in March increased by 88.2% compared to March 2002, a period of 10 years. Imports in March were up 76.1% since March 2002, while exports were up 104.5%.

Surface transportation includes freight movements by truck, rail, pipeline, mail, Foreign Trade Zones and other modes of transport. In March, 86.2% of U.S. trade by value with Canada and Mexico moved via land, 9.8% moved by vessel and 4% moved by air. The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico increased 9.8% in March 2012 from February 2012. Month-to-month changes can be affected by seasonal variations and other factors.

U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico surface transportation trade in March 2012 both increased compared to March 2011 with U.S.-Canada trade reaching $50.1 billion, a 2.9% increase, and U.S.-Mexico trade reaching $35.7 billion, an 11.2% increase.

In March, Michigan led all states in surface trade with Canada as it has in previous years, at $6.3 billion, a 3% increase from March 2011. Of the top 10 states by value, Illinois had the largest percentage increase over March 2011, at 16.5%.

The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada by surface modes of transportation in March was vehicles (other than railway), valued at $9.6 billion.

Texas also continued to lead all states in surface trade with Mexico at $12.6 billion, a 11.5% increase from March 2011. This is the highest monthly level of trading by any state with Mexico and the first time on record that any state has had more than $12 billion of monthly trade with Mexico. Of the top 10 states by value, Tennessee had the biggest percentage increase, 26.3%. The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico by surface modes of transportation in March was electrical machinery with $7.6 billion in trade.

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