Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin is a big player in the pulp and paper industry.
Mexico’s imports of corrugated paper shrank substantially in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, yet the country was the No. 1 importer of the product in 2020, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), a data platform spun out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Mexico imported $285 million worth of corrugated paper—down from $355 million in imports in 2019—and 97% came from the U.S.
Meanwhile, Mexico exported $8.1 million in corrugated paper in 2020—up from $7.2 million worth in 2019—and its main customer was the U.S., the OEC says.
The corrugated paper industry is stabilizing after troubles with a lack of product, high prices and soaring consumer mail orders of goods during the pandemic, experts told a conference in Guadalajara in May 2022, according to an article by An Viet Phat Group.
“We all lived during an immense containerboard consumption boom, and for better and for worse, the packaging industry showed that it is an essential business and that no one can live without a paper box,” Mileva Rivera, vice president of Latin American sales for international trader Canusa, told the Intercorrugado 2022 conference.
Rivera said there are no more delays and inventories are substantial, but some customers in Central and South America are still facing logistical hurdles.
Meanwhile, costs remain high, other speakers told the conference held by Amexiccor, the Mexican Corrugated Board Association.
The Latin American market for packaging is dominated by Mexico and Brazil—but Brazilian producers can meet the demand in their country, while Mexico depends on the imports of corrugated paper, recycled products and old corrugated containers.
Paper products are Wisconsin’s seventh-largest export. State producers sold $765.8 million worth of paper exports in 2021, up from $723.4 million in 2020.