VERY TAXING

Explore all $304.6 billion in goods that the US imports from Mexico in a year

Obsession
"America First"
Obsession
"America First"

While president Donald J. Trump has said he wants to apply a 20% “import tax” on all Mexican products to finance a wall on the US southern border, typically tariffs work in a little more nuanced way. Nonetheless nearly all items crossing the US’s southern border go untaxed due to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Below is a listing of every product the US buys from Mexico through the lens of the Harmonized System, an international standard for categorizing and taxing traded goods.

The data cover the period of December 2015 to November 2016 and are plotted along two axes: how much money the US sends to Mexico for those products and what portion of all international purchases come from Mexico.
Along with the propensity of domestic producers to be able to make the same products, these are important factors policy makers consult when determining what products or categories to levy duties upon.

In nearly two-thirds of trade categories no tariff was collected on goods crossing the Mexican border. 92% of product categories collect less than 1% of the product’s value in tariffs. (Though the Census data do not record collections from anti-dumping or countervailing duties.)

Is a flat tax on all goods the most prudent way to accomplish the administration’s policy goals? There are lots of products that the US relies on Mexico for almost exclusively, high taxes on those would just be passed on to Americans. However there are also products that the US either buys very little of from Mexico or has other major suppliers.

 

Avocados

Mexico is the world’s largest grower of Avocados and the US is the largest buyer. No duty is collected on them at the border.

Plastic Ladders

America buys 97.2% of the plastic ladders it imports from Mexico, $191.5 million in trade.

Class 2 vans and trucks

The second-most valuable import product category, $12.3 billion, is smaller vans and full-size pickup trucks. 99.6% of US imports come from Mexico.

Glass-bottled beer

It’s not just Corona. 63.4% of US imported beer is brewed in Mexico. Most of it—$2.8 billion —comes in glass bottles and enters the US tax-free.
Certain aircraft turbine parts

Certain aircraft turbine parts

Mexico supplies the US with $570 million of these unfinished parts but that’s only 4.7% of what the US imports.

Lithium-ion batteries

The US imports just 3.1% of its lithium-ion batteries from Mexico but that still amounts to $17.4 million in trade.

Class 2 vans and trucks

The second-most valuable import product category, $12.3 billion, is smaller vans and full-size pickup trucks. 99.6% of these US imports come from Mexico.

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