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September Surface Trade with Canada and Mexico Nearly Same as Last Year's

November 27, 2012

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Trade using surface transportation between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement partners, Canada and Mexico, was 0.1% lower in September 2012 than in September 2011.


Trade totaled $77.7 billion, unadjusted for inflation, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation. This is the first year over year decrease since November 2009. Adjusted for inflation and exchange rates, the September 2012 total was $56.3 billion in 2004 dollars, up 1.4% from September 2011.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the September 2012 value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico rose 35.6% from September 2009, shortly after the end of the last recession. Data in the press release are not adjusted for inflation.

The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico in September increased by 69.6% compared to September 2002. Imports in September were up 57.4% since September 2002, while exports were up 85.9%.

Surface transportation includes freight movements by truck, rail, pipeline, mail, other modes of transport, and goods moving into Foreign Trade Zones. In September, 86.4% of U.S. trade by value with Canada and Mexico moved via land, 9.5% moved by vessel, and 4.1% moved by air.

U.S.-Mexico September 2012 trade reached $32 billion, a 1.2% increase from September 2011, while U.S.-Canada trade was $45.7 billion, a 0.9% decrease due to a decrease in imports from Canada. For the 12-month period ending in September 2012, U.S. trade by surface transportation with Mexico has increased, while U.S. trade with Canada decreased.

In September, Michigan led all states in surface trade with Canada, at $6.1 billion, a 2.9% increase from September 2011. Of the top 10 states by value in trade with Canada, six of them had a year-to-year decrease in trade, led by Pennsylvania with a 17.2% decrease, primarily due to declines of more than 25% in trade in iron and steel, paper, pharmaceutical products, and oil and gas.

The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada by surface modes of transportation in September was vehicles, valued at $8.9 billion.

Texas continued to lead all states in surface trade with Mexico at $11.6 billion, a 4.5% increase from September 2011. Of the top 10 states by value in trade with Mexico, Michigan had the biggest percentage increase, 10.5%, and California had the largest percentage decrease, 13.1%.

The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico by surface modes of transportation in September was electrical machinery with $7.1 billion in trade.

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