Surface trade set NAFTA record in 2011

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Surface transportation trade between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement partners Canada and Mexico increased by 14.3 percent in 2011 compared to 2010, valued at $904 billion in 2011, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The 14.3 percent increase in trade was the third-largest year-to-year increase for the years covered by these data. The $904 billion in U.S.-NAFTA trade was the highest amount since NAFTA went into effect in 1994.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that total North American surface transportation imports increased by 13.8 percent in 2011 from 2010, and exports increased by 14.8 percent during the same period. Total North American surface transportation trade is up by 42.0 percent since 2009 when U.S.-NAFTA trade fell to a recent low during the last recession. In 2009, U.S.-NAFTA trade dropped by 23.3 percent from the previous year.

U.S. land trade with Mexico declined less following the recession of 2008-2009 than did trade with Canada, and it rebounded faster. U.S.-Mexico land trade declined 14.4 percent in 2009 from 2008, then increased by 46.3 percent in the next two years to reach a level in 2011 that was 25.3 percent higher than in 2008. U.S.-Canada land trade declined 28.1 percent in 2009 from 2008, then increased by 39.2 percent in the next two years to reach a level in 2011 that was virtually unchanged from 2008.

As a result, U.S.-Mexico trade comprised 40.6 percent of North American surface freight in 2011, compared to 35.3 percent in 2008. In 2011, 85.5 percent of U.S. merchandise trade by value with Canada and Mexico moved on land.

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