A recent report co-authored by the University of Miami's and the University of California's Centers for Latin American Studies and the Centro de Estudios China-Mexico spoke of the emerging and dynamic triangle of trade and economic relationships between the United States, Mexico and China. The updated 2012 statistics supplied here by China Brain supplement this reports findings by detailing exactly how these economies and their interrelations are composed. We also hope to point out, however, that this composition is set for dynamic change.

The US has for nearly 100 years been the world's largest economy and largest consumer. Since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994 it has been Mexico which has functioned as the workshop providing this economy with consumable goods. Mexico has become renowned for its cheap labour and maquiladora production lines. In the last 20 years, however, China's rise as the 'workshop of the world' has undermined much of the traditional foundations of the Mexican economy. Graph B provides a break down of the respective growth and decline of key Mexican and Chinese industries. These compose the 'direct threats to industry' posed by China.

The first set of graphs detail the composition of the three routes of trade between the US, China and Mexico in terms of quantities of the top ten exports and imports (classified by HTS). But these trade balances, or imbalances, are far from fixed. Trade in this trilateral relationship is in flux for a number of reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, China is rapidly morphing into one of the world's largest consumer, as well as producer, economies. This offers opportunities for both Mexican and US trade with the 21st century's China. Secondly, America's consumer appetite has declined in the last few years, since the financial crisis rocked the country's economy. And lastly, Mexico is increasingly becoming aware of the value of its relatively high quality manufactured products, particularly to an emerging consumer market such as China. For a more detailed look into how these dynamics are playing out in relation to, specifically, agriculture, read this China Brain editorial from June.

What these graphs show is stark trade imbalance and the unstoppable growth and competitiveness of Chinese manufacturing and industry. All of these factors face change in the near future, however. The structure of these trans-Pacific trade relationships is set to transform dramatically.