As the top suppliers of manufactured goods to the American market, China and Mexico have typically been in direct competition over the past decade. More often than not, the business went to China. But with labor costs rising there and Mexico pushing for new access to Chinese consumers, the rivalry is shifting, economists and trade analysts say.
No longer pure competitors but not quite partners, the two countries are moving toward an expanded trade relationship that could ultimately benefit the United States by boosting U.S. exports and keeping cheap imports flowing to U.S. consumers. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s recent trip to China, coming just four months into his term, has been viewed here as a smart overture aimed at mending ties between two nations that have often been at odds over trade issues.