Embracing the Mexico Advantage

At John S. James Co., we are dedicated to offering unparalleled U.S. Customs brokerage and freight forwarding services. As global trade dynamics evolve, our focus has increasingly turned towards leveraging the strategic advantages presented by Mexico, especially in the context of the USMCA trade agreement and the shifting landscape due to Section 301 tariffs on China.

Surge in China-to-Mexico Shipments

FreightWaves has highlighted a significant trend: a 127% increase over the past five years in China-to-Mexico shipments routed through Laredo, Texas, with a remarkable 24% year-over-year growth. This surge underscores a critical shift in global trade patterns, as businesses seek to circumvent U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods. Notably, this route is becoming a vital corridor for imports of electric vehicles (EVs), semiconductors, solar cells, and other high-tech products.

Section 301 Tariff duty placed on imported Solar Panels from China increases this year from 25% to 50%.
The largest Section 301 Tariff increase will be on Electric Vehicles imported from China, rising to 100% this year.
In 2025 Section 301 Tariff increases on Semiconductors imported from China increases to 50%

Impact of Section 301 Tariffs and Nearshoring

The imposition of Section 301 tariffs on Chinese imports has prompted many businesses to reconsider their supply chain strategies. This environment has given rise to nearshoring and China-Plus-1 strategies, where companies diversify their manufacturing and sourcing activities to include locations outside of China. Mexico has emerged as a key beneficiary of this shift, offering a geographically advantageous position, cost efficiencies, and a skilled labor force.

Our team at John S. James Co. is adept at navigating these changes. We provide our clients with insights into how to maximize the benefits of nearshoring, ensuring seamless cross-border transactions and compliance with all necessary regulations. Our expertise in managing the complexities of the USMCA agreement allows our clients to capitalize on reduced tariffs and enhanced trade facilitation measures between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.

Some sector impacted by Section 301 Tariffs

Electric Vehicles (EVs)

Mexico has become a hub for EV manufacturing, with major automakers establishing production facilities in the country. The influx of EV components from China contributes to Mexico’s growing role in the global automotive supply chain. As demand for cleaner transportation options rises, the China-to-Mexico route plays a pivotal role in ensuring timely delivery of EV parts.


Semiconductors are the backbone of modern technology, powering everything from smartphones to industrial machinery. The surge in China-to-Mexico shipments directly impacts semiconductor supply chains. Mexican assembly plants rely on these critical components, and any disruption could reverberate across industries worldwide.

Solar Cells

Mexico’s solar energy sector has witnessed rapid growth. Solar cells imported from China are essential for expanding renewable energy capacity. The Laredo route facilitates the flow of solar panels and related equipment, supporting Mexico’s transition toward sustainable energy sources.

For more information on Section 301 Tariffs, visit the John S. James Co. recent blog on this subject.

Addressing Forced Labor Concerns

The U.S. government has recently expanded its list of companies barred from importing due to allegations of forced Uyghur labor. This list spans various industries, including footwear, aluminum, and seafood. As compliance becomes increasingly critical, our knowledgeable staff is equipped to help businesses navigate these restrictions and ensure that their supply chains remain ethical and compliant with all U.S. import regulations.

For additional information relating to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, visit the John S. James Co. UFLPA page.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers inspect a shipment of goods from China, some of which are suspected to have been made with forced or prison labor.
EU parliament to back ban on forced labour with eye on China.
Major brands try to determine if cotton in their clothes is from Uighur forced labor in China.

Insights from the Logistics Industry

Nearshoring is not just maintaining its momentum; it’s accelerating. Here are some key insights from industry experts, including Matt Silver of Cargado and others:

Carriers and brokers are handling higher volumes, allowing carriers to choose their freight. As northbound freight pricing increases, southbound rates may become more competitive. Operational efficiency is crucial, with carriers avoiding deadhead distances beyond 50-100 miles for pickups. Shippers must focus on loading/unloading conditions, trailer quality, and provider relationships.
Manufacturers are actively establishing or expanding their presence in Mexico, prompting logistics providers to align with this trend. Strategic moves by logistics companies include acquiring specialized providers or hiring experts to develop robust Mexico operations.
Supply chain stakeholders seek improved support for Mexico operations from their technology partners. However, existing systems often lack the necessary structure to handle the intricacies of Mexico’s logistics landscape. These software developers collaborate to bridge the gap and drive technological adaptation.
  1. Rising Market Activity in Mexico:
    • Volume Increases: Carriers and brokers are experiencing higher volumes, with carriers having the luxury to select their freight.
    • Pricing Dynamics: Northbound freight pricing is rising, suggesting that southbound rates might become more competitive.
    • Operational Efficiency: Carriers prefer not to deadhead more than 50-100 miles to a pickup, emphasizing the need for efficient logistics planning. Shippers must pay attention to loading/unloading conditions, trailer quality, and provider relationships.
  2. Growing Focus on Mexico:
    • Manufacturing Footprint: Many manufacturers are establishing or expanding their presence in Mexico, urging their logistics providers to support this trend.
    • Strategic Moves by Providers: Logistics companies without a Mexico strategy are either acquiring specialized providers or hiring experts to build their Mexico operations.
  3. Technological Adaptation:
    • Support for Mexico Operations: Supply chain stakeholders are demanding enhanced support for Mexico from their technology partners. However, many systems are not yet structured to handle the complexities of Mexico’s logistics landscape.

As Mexico becomes increasingly integral to the U.S. economy, staying ahead of these trends is crucial.

Comprehensive Support for Cross-Border Shipping

John S. James Co. provides comprehensive support for businesses engaging in cross-border shipping with Mexico. Our services include:

Customs Brokerage

Our expert customs brokerage services are designed to handle the intricate requirements of cross-border shipments. We meticulously prepare and process all necessary customs documentation to ensure your goods move smoothly through customs, minimizing delays and avoiding costly fines. Our brokers stay updated on the latest regulatory changes, ensuring that your shipments comply with all U.S., Mexican, and international customs regulations. From tariff classifications to duty payments and trade compliance, we cover every aspect of customs brokerage to provide a seamless experience for our clients.

Freight Forwarding

We offer tailored freight forwarding solutions to meet the unique needs of your business. Whether you are shipping by air, sea, or land, our team coordinates the logistics to ensure your cargo reaches its destination efficiently and cost-effectively. Our services include cargo consolidation, route optimization, and real-time tracking, giving you complete visibility and control over your shipments. By leveraging our extensive network of carriers and partners, we provide flexible and reliable transportation options that accommodate the specific requirements of your supply chain.

Trade Agreement Consulting

Understanding and leveraging trade agreements like the USMCA can significantly reduce costs and improve the efficiency of your operations. Our trade agreement consulting services help you navigate these complex agreements, ensuring that you maximize the benefits available to your business. We provide detailed guidance on rules of origin, tariff classifications, and compliance requirements, helping you take full advantage of preferential tariff treatments and other benefits. Our expertise ensures that you remain competitive in the global marketplace while adhering to all regulatory standards.

Tariff Management

Managing tariffs is a critical aspect of international trade, particularly in light of Section 301 tariffs on Chinese imports. Our tariff management services are designed to help you mitigate the impact of these tariffs on your business. We conduct thorough analyses of your product classifications, identify opportunities for tariff reduction or exemption, and develop strategic plans to minimize costs. Our proactive approach ensures that you stay ahead of regulatory changes and make informed decisions to protect your bottom line.

Compliance and Risk Management

Ensuring compliance with all import and export regulations is essential to avoid penalties and protect your business reputation. Our compliance and risk management services encompass a wide range of activities, including supply chain audits, regulatory compliance reviews, and risk assessments. We work closely with your team to identify potential risks and implement robust compliance programs that safeguard your operations. Our experts provide ongoing support and training, keeping you informed of the latest regulatory developments and best practices to ensure continuous compliance.

The John S. James Co. Advantage

Our skilled staff is committed to providing exceptional service and support to our clients. By staying abreast of the latest trade developments and leveraging our deep industry knowledge, we help businesses adapt to changing market conditions and capitalize on new opportunities.

As the landscape of global trade continues to shift, John S. James Co. remains a trusted partner for businesses navigating the complexities of cross-border shipping with Mexico. We are here to help you streamline your operations, reduce costs, and achieve your international trade goals.

John S. James Co. also has a dedicated Mexico Services page.

For more information on how we can support your cross-border shipping needs, please contact our team today.

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