Mexico Is China’s Backdoor to the US Market

Chinese producers keep finding new ways around US trade barriers.

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Mexico Bridges the U.S.-China Trade War
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Due to the trade war between the United States and China, some Chinese companies are employing third parties to help their products enter the U.S. market. One of these is Mexico. Last year, U.S. imports from Mexico surpassed those from China for the first time in years. At the same time, the shipment of 20-foot containers from China to Mexico surged to 881,000 in the first three quarters of 2023, up from 689,000 in the corresponding period of 2022.

Chinese firms aim to circumvent U.S. trade barriers by establishing manufacturing or processing facilities in Mexico. With the plants established, the firms ship components and partially assembled products from China to their Mexican facilities. The finished goods are then exported to the United States. For Chinese companies establishing operations in Mexico, securing a Mexican “certificate of origin” is crucial. However, the U.S. is looking at ways to prevent Chinese companies from gaining duty-free access to the U.S. market via the U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement.

Geopolitical Futures
Geopolitical Futures (GPF) was founded in 2015 by George Friedman, international strategist and author of The Storm Before the Calm and The Next 100 Years. GPF is non-ideological, analyzes the world and forecasts the future using geopolitics: political, economic, military and geographic dimensions at the foundation of a nation.