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Thanks to growing trade with Mexico, the country now is the top US trade partner. (Photo: Cofemer Mexico)
Steven Donziger in Ecuador with British actress Trudie Styler, the wife of musician Sting. (Photo: Crude)
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Trade Talk

Mexico Top US Trade Partner

U.S. trade with Mexico increased in first half, but declined with China.


Mexico has replaced China as the top US trade partner, according to new data from the US Census Bureau analyzed by Latinvex.

The change comes as a result of a 13.6 percent decline in U.S. trade with China compared with a 2.8 percent increase in trade with Mexico.

While US trade in goods with Mexico reached a total of $308.9 billion in the first half, total US trade with China reached $271 billion.

U.S. exports to Mexico in the first six months reached $129.3 billion, down 1.5 percent from the same period last year. Meanwhile, U.S. imports from Mexico totaled $179.6 billion, an increase of 6.1 percent.

As a result, the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico jumped 32.4 percent to $50.3 billion.

U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly – and erroneously – claimed that trade deficits were a loss to the United States, even though they actually reflect the difference between domestic demand for foreign goods and foreign demand for U.S. goods.

He has used trade deficits as an argument to impose several tariffs on China and threatened to do so against Mexico both before and after he became president in January 2017. (See this timeline for U.S. tariffs against China since February 2018).

U.S. exports to China in the first six months were $52 billion, an 18.8 percent decline. Meanwhile, U.S. imports from China fell 12.3 percent to $219 billion.


U.S. attorney Steven Donziger, who has led a multi-billion dollar litigation against Chevron for pollution in Ecuador, has been ordered to surrender his passport and submit to virtual house arrest, Forbes reports.

On August 6, Donziger was arraigned on the criminal contempt charge leveled against him by Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York.  According to court filings, the Southern District's U.S. Attorney's office had declined to prosecute Donziger, as it had insufficient resources to handle the case given its other current obligations.  Judge Kaplan therefore referred allegations to the law firm of Seward & Kissel, for prosecution.

District Judge Loretta A. Preska, who presided over Donziger's arraignment, announced that "[h]e is facing jail time,” according to Forbes.

The root of his problems is that Kaplan found him guilty of committing fraud in his case against Chevron.

The U.S. oil company operated a joint venture with Ecuador’s state oil company Petroecuador from 1964 to 1990, when the Ecuadorian company took over management of the oil field (although serious oil drilling didn’t start until the early 1970s). Texaco continued with a minority stake in the consortium until 1992.  When Texaco left Ecuador completely in 1992 it undertook a $40 million remediation and in 1998, the government of Ecuador declared that the remediation was completed according to the terms and parameters agreed upon and released Texaco from any future liability.

However, in 2011 a court in Ecuador ruled that Chevron was guilty of pollution and fined it $9.5 billion after using what Chevron deemed was a fraudulent process.

Kaplan and several international courts dismissed Donziger’s lawsuit.


Uruguayan capital Montevideo is the most expensive city in Latin America for expats, followed by Santiago in Chile and Sao Paulo in Brazil, according to a recent ranking by Mercer.

Montevideo now ranks in 70th place out of 209 cities worldwide, up from 75th place a year ago. Santiago ranks in 79th place, down from 69 earlier, while Sao Paulo ranks 86, down 28 spots.

Other cities in South America that climbed on the list of costliest cities for expatriates include Panama City (93), San Jose  (131), and Havana  (133) rising twenty-one, ten, and twenty-two spots, respectively. Cities that fell in the ranking despite price increases on goods and services and accommodation costs include Brazil and Argentina.

Rio de Janeiro (121) dropped twenty-two places, while Buenos Aires (133) fell fifty-seven places.

On the opposite end, Nicaraguan capital Managua ranks as the least expensive (and 200th worldwide), followed by Tegucigalpa in Honduras (199) and La Paz in Bolivia (195).

© Copyright Latinvex

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