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This is why Donald Trump needs to make nice with Mexico

A supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds up his shirt, bearing the Trump slogan "Build a Wall," following a rally for Trump in Everett, Washington last August.
Ted S. Warren | AP
A supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds up his shirt, bearing the Trump slogan "Build a Wall," following a rally for Trump in Everett, Washington last August.

Donald Trump's trip south of the border Wednesday is about more than mending fences over his inflammatory rhetoric over building a wall to keep Mexicans out of the U.S.

Among America's trading partners, Mexico is the second-largest buyer of U.S. goods.

In his campaign rhetoric, the Republican presidential nominee has railed against a supposed threat to American jobs posed by Mexican immigrants. The issue has been popular among his supporters.

But many American workers depend on continued Mexican demand for U.S. goods and services to keep payrolls and paychecks growing.

Last year, Mexico bought some $236 billion worth of American goods, or nearly 16 percent of all exports. Only Canada, at $280 billion, is a bigger customer.

The shipments came from a wide variety of American companies and industries. Among the biggest categories were cars, trucks and parts, along with chemicals and petroleum products, and computers and electrical equipment.