New Mexico trade with its southern neighbor is headed toward a new record in 2013

Via the Albuquerque Journal, by Kevin Robinson-Avila / Journal Staff Writer | Sun, Aug 18, 2013

New Mexico trade with its southern neighbor is headed toward a new record in 2013.

Exports jumped 20 percent in the first six months of this year, from $310.4 million in 2012 to $372.3 million, according to the U.S. Commerce Department’s Foreign Trade Division.

That follows a 33 percent jump in exports for all of 2012, when shipments to Mexico reached a record $617.6 million. If trends hold through December, state exports will surpass $700 million for the first time.

“I think these trends will definitely continue,” said Jerry Pacheco, executive director of the International Business Accelerator at Santa Teresa. “More than 50 percent of our exports to Mexico are originating from southern Doña Ana County, where companies are expanding and new ones are moving in. There’s a lot of momentum here at the border, and it’s having a direct impact on exports.”

The southward boom reflects strong activity in Mexico’s maquila industry. Companies at Santa Teresa’s two industrial parks ship a wide variety of supplies to Mexico’s assembly factories, such as manufactured metal parts, plastic injectors, packaging and resins, Pacheco said.

The growth also reflects concerted efforts by Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration to promote trade with Mexico. Martinez signed a memorandum of understanding last year with the state of Chihuahua to strengthen trade relations and the two states are working together to build needed infrastructure along the border.

Now, with Union Pacific Railroad constructing a massive intermodal transshipment terminal and locomotive fueling station at Santa Teresa, exports are expected to grow even faster in the future. The rail facility is scheduled to open in 2015.

“I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet,” Pacheco said. “Once the Union Pacific terminal opens, I think we’ll see our exports grow like crazy.”