indicatorThe Owl

Cinco de Mayo Special: Alberta’s trade with Mexico

Mexico is Alberta's fourth largest international customer.

By ATB Economics 5 May 2020 2 min read

To mark the celebration of Mexican-American culture known as Cinco de Mayo,* today’s Owl looks at Alberta’s trade with Mexico. 

Alberta’s exports to Mexico came to $1.1 billion last year making it our fourth largest international customer. If we exclude sales to the United States (which account for 88 per cent of Alberta's global exports), this works out to about 8 per cent of our international sales in 2019. China accounts for 30 per cent and Japan for 12 per cent.

Propane is the number one product we export to Mexico. At $308 million, shipments of the versatile fuel accounted for 28 per cent of our exports to Mexico last year.

Plastic—another hydrocarbon—is our second largest export to Mexico. Sales of polyethylene and ethylene-alpha-olefin copolymers to Mexico last year came to $164 million, or about 15 per cent of total exports.

Rounding out the top three is canola with sales of $140 million (13 per cent).

Slicing up the export pie by industry, our top three exporters to Mexico are: agriculture and agri-food at 42 per cent of the total, petroleum manufacturing (mostly propane) at 32 per cent and chemical manufacturing (mostly polyethylene and ethylene) at 17 per cent.

Keeping in mind that import statistics at the provincial level are not as accurate as export data, Alberta imported a total of $1.6 billion of goods from Mexico last year. 

Our imports from Mexico are more diversified than our exports. Tractor trucks for semis top the list of specific products we import from Mexico at $115 million (7 per cent of total imports) followed by telecommunications equipment at $76 million (5 per cent) and heavy trucks at $65 million (4 per cent). 

As with our exports to Mexico, the agriculture and agri-food sector is the largest source of imports (mostly fresh fruit and vegetables) at $373 million or 23 per cent of the total.

Despite the popularity of beer on Cinco de Mayo, a population 29 times larger than Alberta’s, and about the same level of beer consumption per capita, sales of Alberta beer to Mexico came to just $4 million last year compared to imports from Mexico of $32 million.

*For you history buffs out there, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican Army's victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

Mexico is Alberta's fourth largest international customer

Propane is the number one product Alberta exports to Mexico.

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