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 Laredo (- US $30 billion or -17.1%) and El Paso (- US $6 billion or -10.3%) ports of entry 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, Santa Teresa PoE witnessed the largest relative drop in total trade on a year-over-year basis at 23.9%, followed by Del Rio PoE (-22.7%). The largest absolute decreases, however, were seen at Laredo PoE ( – US $30 billion), El Paso PoE (- US $6.1 billion), and Santa Teresa PoE (- US $5.5 billion).
•The largest absolute decreases in export merchandise value during the aforementioned period on a year-over-year basis were seen at the Laredo, Santa Teresa, and El Paso ports of entry, with decreases of US $15.7 billion (-21.7%), US $3.5 billion (-32.8%), and US $2.3 billion (-9.5%), respectively. However, El Paso PoE did reach its highest level of exports ever in July 2020 at nearly US $3.3 billion.
•The Laredo, El Paso, and Eagle Pass ports of entry witnessed the largest absolute decreases in import merchandise value, falling US $14.3 billion (-13.8%), US $3.8 billion (-10.9%), and US $2.5 billion (-15%), respectively, during the aforementioned period on a year-over-year basis.
•Aside from Eagle Pass PoE, 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 Eagle Pass PoE was roughly US $2 billion greater than its decrease in exports.
TAKEAWAY: Following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, total trade across the top U.S.-Mexico border ports of entry has suffered severely. Laredo, El Paso, and Santa Teresa ports of entry, in particular, have seen precipitous declines throughout 2020. Nevertheless, El Paso PoE reached its highest export level ever in July at nearly US $3.3 billion.
* 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