North America to Replace Asian Imports with Regional Substitutes
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North America to Replace Asian Imports with Regional Substitutes

Photo by:   Mika Baumeister
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Paloma Duran By Paloma Duran | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Fri, 01/13/2023 - 12:21

During the tenth North American Leaders’ Summit (NALS), North America’s political leaders announced the creation of an import substitution committee to benefit the entire region. Mexico's Minister of Economy, Raquel Buenrostro, called on the region to reduce imports from Asia and generate further support the regional supply chain. 

Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed to jointly create a committee that will gradually replace Asian imports in North America. It is expected that each country will designate four people in the coming months to form part of a new group consisting of 12 specialists. For Mexico, Marcelo Ebrard, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rogelio Ramirez de la O, the Minister of Finance and Public Credit, Raquel Buenrostro Sanchez, the Minister of Economy and Alfonso Romo Garza, an independent businessman, are expected to join the committee.

"We agreed to strive to become increasingly self-sufficient, as well as to make development, cooperation and well-being a reality for all the countries of our continent. The specialists, in addition to being knowledgeable on the subject, will have our absolute confidence to motivate, persuade and convince businesspeople, workers and public servants about the importance of uniting in North America and the entire American continent," said López Obrador.

Furthermore, Buenrostro argued that if all companies in the region were to replace their imports from Asia with those from Mexico, Canada and the US, this would lead to a fairer, more equitable and inclusive regional development.

From January to September 2022, imports to the US had a value of US$2.556 billion, imports to Mexico totaled US$456 million and those to Canada US$428 million. From 2018 to 2021, US imports came primarily from China, Europe and Mexico. Experts argue that while imports from other regions have declined, China remains the top importer of goods to the US. In addition, significant increases in imports from other Asian countries such as Vietnam, the Republic of Korea and Taipei were recorded in all three countries.

In the case of Mexico, its main trading partners are the US with 64.4 percent of the market share, China with 11 percent, South Korea with 2.6 percent, Germany with 2.5 percent, Canada with 2.4 percent, and Japan with 2.1 percent. Canada's main trading partners in 2022 were the US with 59 percent of total imports, China with 14 percent, Mexico with 5.5 percent and Germany with 3.1 percent.

Photo by:   Mika Baumeister

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