Nafta alive and kicking
The dark clouds on the international trade horizon between the USA and Europe, for example, should not obscure the view of other developments. Goods flows are strong elsewhere. Maersk believes Mexico and Canada will power ahead in 2018.
The knives are out in US–European trade relations. One side is going on at length about higher duties for aluminium and steel, the other one about blue jeans, bourbon and Harley Davidson motorbikes. Mexico and Canada’s hands for 2018, in the meantime, appear to be rather good, overall – despite uncertainty surrounding Nafta negotiations.
In its latest analysis of the economy of the region Maersk Line assumes that Mexico and Canada are each heading for another strong trade performance in 2018, with growth rates of 6% and 7% respectively. The USA and Brazil, for example (predictions here are for around 3% growth) would be left far behind.
Dynamism thanks to restructured CPTPP
The largest container shipping line also expects global trade to improve by around 3%, dollar exchange rates to remain stable and Mexico to benefit from the restructured Trans-Pacific Partnership, now called CPTPP. It is set to abolish 98% of customs duties between eleven countries, including Mexico, Canada, Japan, Chile, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.
Ceta, Canada’s free-trade agreement with the EU, was signed in 2017, and has been said to have contributed substantially to a 7% increase in container traffic. On top of this there are impulses such as the football World Cup. Even last year Mexico, an important exporter of flat-screen TVs, increased this particular figure by 20%. Overall the country’s exports – 80% of which go to the USA – grew by 9.5% vis-à-vis the previous year, whilst its imports increased by 8.6%. Box imports and exports grew by 12% in 2017. 2018 could be even better.