2009 NAFTA surface trade fell 23.3%

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Trade using surface transportation between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement partners Canada and Mexico decreased by 23.3 percent in 2009 compared to 2008, dropping to $637 billion, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The 23.3 percent decline in trade was the largest year-to-year decline for the 15 years covered by the data. NAFTA went into effect in 1994.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the value of trade by surface transportation with Canada and Mexico decreased by 31.1 percent during the first six months of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008. It decreased by 14.9 percent in the final six months of the year but increased by 10.5 percent in December compared to December 2008.

Total North American surface transportation imports decreased by 26.5 percent in 2009 from 2008, and exports decreased by 19.2 percent during the same period. In 2009, 86.6 percent of U.S. merchandise trade by value with Canada and Mexico moved on land. Total North American surface transportation trade value in 2009 increased 0.5 percent compared to 2004, and was up 27.0 percent compared to 1999.

U.S.-Canada surface transportation trade totaled $386 billion in 2009, a decrease of 28.1 percent compared to 2008. The value of imports carried by truck was 25.7 percent lower in 2009 than 2008, while the value of exports carried by truck was 20.2 percent lower. Michigan led all states in surface trade with Canada in 2009 with $42.5 billion.

U.S.-Mexico surface transportation trade totaled $251.0 billion in 2009, a decrease of 14.4 percent compared to 2008. The value of imports carried by truck was 12.2 percent lower in 2009 than 2008, while the value of exports carried by truck was 10.8 percent lower. Texas led all states in surface trade with Mexico in 2009 with $86.0 billion.

The TransBorder Freight Dataset is a special extract of the official U.S. foreign trade statistics. The data are obtained by BTS from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Division. TransBorder numbers include data received by BTS as of Feb. 16.