TREND: In 2019, the top five U.S.-Mexico ports of entry (PoE) in terms of total trade accounted for 80% of world trade merchandise that crossed the U.S.-Mexico border, led by the Laredo Port of Entry (PoE) with 43.6% (US $231.5 billion) and the El Paso PoE with 14.9% (US $78.9 billion). However, the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic severely impacted the overall merchandise trade value through all ports of entry, with the largest absolute decreases seen at the El Paso PoE (-$34.3 billion or -57.9%) and the Laredo PoE (-$30 billion or -17.1%) during the January to September 2020 period, on a year-over-year basis.
- In 2019, five ports of entry accounted for approximately 80% of world merchandise trade by value across U.S.-Mexico border ports of entry: Laredo PoE with 43.6% (US $231.5 billion), El Paso PoE with 14.9% (US $78.9 billion), Otay Mesa PoE with 9.2% (US $49 billion), Hidalgo PoE with 6.9% (US $36.7 billion), and Santa Teresa PoE with 5.7% (US $30.5 billion).
- During the January to September 2020 period, the El Paso PoE showed a noticeably steeper drop in total trade than the other ports on a year-over-year basis. Following El Paso’s 57.9% decline, the next largest drops on a relative basis were seen at the Santa Teresa PoE (-23.9%) and the Del Rio PoE (-22.7%).
- The largest absolute decreases in export merchandise value during the aforementioned period on a year-over-year basis were seen at the Laredo, El Paso, and Santa Teresa PoEs, with decreases of US $15.7 billion (-21.7%), US $11.7 billion (-49%), and US $3.5 billion (-32.8%), respectively.
- The El Paso, Laredo, and Eagle Pass PoEs witnessed the largest absolute decreases in import merchandise value, falling $22.5 billion (-63.9%), $14.2 billion (-13.8%), and $2.5 billion (-15%), respectively, during the aforementioned period on a year-over-year basis.
TAKEAWAY: Following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, total trade across the top U.S.-Mexico border ports of entry has suffered severely. The El Paso Port of Entry, in particular, saw a precipitous decline throughout 2020. Aside from the Eagle Pass PoE, the El Paso PoE was the only other port of entry to witness a steeper relative decline for imports compared to exports. The decrease in imports for El Paso PoE was nearly double its decrease in exports.
* Since 2014, the Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness at The University of Texas at El Paso has provided economic analysis of the Paso del Norte Region that includes the binational communities of El Paso, Texas; Las Cruces, New Mexico; and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. The mission of the Hunt Institute is to produce high-quality market analysis tools that can strengthen regional and binational cross-border economic and social development. Twitter: @HuntPasoDeNorte