Brazil and Mexico are the leading economies in Latin America. Usually, Brazil has been number one but Mexico has moved ahead of Brazil several times only to fall back again. Such was the case in the half of the previous decade. Now, many predict that as Brazil’s economy flounders, Mexico again will forge ahead and overtake Brazil in the next few years. A major part of Mexico’s growth has been driven by its free trade pacts and, mainly its participation in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Today Mexico’s foreign trade is almost 3/4 of a trillion dollars. Brazil, on the other hand, did 465 billion in foreign commerce in 2012. Now, close to 80 percent of Mexico’s trade is within NAFTA, in spite of the fact that Mexico has over 40 free trade agreements in place. Brazil’s trade is more spread out with China having surpassed the US as its largest trading partner. Argentina is in third place.
California exported over 26 billion dollars of goods to Mexico in 2012 and only some 2 billion dollars to Brazil. Of course, geography plays a major role but it should be clear that the potential for trade between Brazil and California is great. Between Mexico and Brazil, there was only 10 billion dollars of exchange in 2012. The auto industry and its supplier represent some 65 percent of the total in trade between Brazil and Mexico.