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Borderlands: China remains top US trade partner, followed by Mexico, Canada

Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: China remains top US trade partner; German auto supplier announces more than $300M investment in Mexico; Walmart opening new distribution center in Texas; and construction begins on $1B USMCA park near Mexico City.

China remains top US trade partner, followed by Mexico, Canada 

China was again the top trading partner of the United States in January, followed by Mexico and Canada, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

China’s trade with the U.S. increased 14% to $59.2 billion in January, with imports from China increasing 51% and U.S. exports to China declining 11%. China was also the top U.S. trading partner in December.

Mexico edged past Canada and rose to No. 2 in January. Its total trade with the U.S. increased 17% to $56.9 billion for the month, compared to the same period in 2021. The last time Mexico ranked as the U.S.’s No. 1 trading partner was last April.

Mexico’s exports to the U.S. registered a 14.5% year-over-year increase in January to $33.2 billion. Imports from the U.S. increased 21.5% year-over-year in January to $23.6 million.

Canada ranked third with $56.8 billion in total trade with the U.S. in January. Canada exported $24.6 billion to the U.S. in January and imported $32.2 billion.

Japan, at $18 billion, and Germany, at $15.4 billion, were the fourth- and fifth-largest U.S. trade partners in January.

The Port of Los Angeles was the No. 1-ranked port among U.S. gateways in December, followed by Chicago O’Hare International Airport, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by WorldCity.

Port Laredo in Texas was No. 3 in December, with trade with the world totaling $21.4 billion in January. 

The port, operated by the city of Laredo, includes the World Trade Bridge, the Colombia Solidarity Bridge and Laredo International Airport. 

Port Laredo’s top exports were vehicle parts ($748 million), gasoline ($311 million) and diesel engines ($285 million). The top imports were vehicle parts ($1.5 billion), passenger vehicles ($1.2 billion) and commercial trucks ($778 million).

Port Laredo also recorded 207,867 commercial trucks passing through its two bridges in January, a 5.5% year-over-year increase from the same month in 2021, according to the city of Laredo.

Watch: FreightWaves’ shipper update for March 11.

German manufacturer announces more than $300M investment in Mexico

Germany-based Robert Bosch recently announced expansion plans totaling more than $340 million in Mexico.

The company announced Friday that it will invest $260 million for a new refrigerator plant in Monterrey. The 4.6 million-square-foot plant will produce up to 600,000 refrigerators annually for the North American market.

Construction on the facility will begin this summer and is scheduled to be completed in mid-2024. Once operational, the factory could generate up to 1,500 jobs.

Bosch also recently announced it is investing $84 million to build an auto parts facility in the city of Aguascalientes in south central Mexico. The 32,291-square-foot facility will produce brake systems for customers in North America. 

Bosch has 60,000 employees in 39 factories across 50 countries.

Walmart announces new distribution center on Texas Gulf Coast

Walmart announced Thursday plans to expand its Baytown, Texas, supply chain campus with a new 1 million-square-foot distribution center.

The center will support the retailer’s growing supply chain network, according to a release

“The Baytown campus and our other regional facilities help us provide our local customers with their everyday necessities with more variety and efficiency than ever before,” Mike Gray, Walmart’s senior vice president of supply chain operations, said in a statement.

Baytown is in the Gulf Coast region of Texas along the Houston Ship Channel.

The distribution center, scheduled to open by the end of the year, will be the retailer’s fourth in Baytown. The expansion will create 300 full-time jobs and bring the total square footage of Walmart’s facility to over 5 million.

Walmart operates 19 distribution centers and 593 retail stores, and it employs 185,000 people in  Texas. 

$1B USMCA logistics complex begins construction near Mexico City

Officials in Mexico held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for an industrial complex called the USMCA Park Logistics Center.

The center aims to boost international trade as part of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The multimodal logistics and industrial park will include airport and rail services. 

The project will include an investment of $1.2 billion and could generate more than 65,000 jobs in Nextlalpan, a town about 25 miles north of Mexico City.

The park will have three stages of construction, with the first phase scheduled for completion in 2023.

E-Group, a Mexico City-based commercial real estate development company, will develop and manage USMCA Park Logistics Center.

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Florida, Maryland and Texas. Contact nmahoney@freightwaves.com