U.S. Trade Data:

Limitations of U.S. Statistics on Trade With Mexico

T-GGD-93-25: Published: Apr 28, 1993. Publicly Released: Apr 28, 1993.

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GAO discussed the quality of U.S. trade data, focusing on the limitations: (1) of trade data; and (2) on U.S.-Mexican trade issues in the Maquiladora Program. GAO noted that: (1) U.S. trade data were undercounted until 1971, until the United States and Canada agreed to conduct an annual reconciliation of their trade data; (2) in 1987, the United States and Canada signed an agreement to exchange administrative records on imports and use the information to determine each country's exports to the other country; (3) import data are considered more accurate than export data, but the quality of data is unclear; (4) U.S. trade data do not distinguish U.S. trade with maquiladora companies from other trade with Mexico; and (5) if the North American Free Trade Agreement is implemented, it may be more difficult to collect accurate trade data, since Customs will have fewer reasons to closely monitor the collection of such information.

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