North American Business

By | March 3, 2021

The North American economy is characterized by a great diversity of products and services, a strong use of technology and a workforce, in general, specialized. There is also a great regional disparity when we compare the productive capacity of the countries in the north, Canada and the United States, and Mexico, in the south. Even within countries we have regional inequalities, since all have territories of continental proportions. In 1992, these countries created the Northern American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA abbreviated by, a free market agreement that provides for the end of tariff barriers between the three countries.

Economic activities

When we talk about North America, we immediately think of the presence of high-tech economic activities in Silicon Valley (USA), as well as the strong film industry in Hollywood (also in the USA), the auto industry with companies like Ford and Chevrolet (General Motors), but we don’t remember much about the agriculture of these countries.

Even the great world economic power, such as the United States of America, has a rich and enviable presence in livestock and also in agriculture. The so-called belts are areas specialized in certain types of crops. Among the most famous: Corn Belts (corn), Cotton Belts (cotton), among others. A great highlight goes to corn, which is present in the diet of these countries, as well as in several industrial uses, for example in the manufacture of Ethanol (fuel alcohol), as well as the production of orange, which is among the largest in the world.

In Mexico, there are the typical agave plantations, a plant from which agave syrup is made (which serves as a syrup and sweetener), Tequila and Mezcal are also made, alcoholic beverages that have gained popularity around the world. Mezcal being famous for possibly containing a small harmless worm in the drink and which is consumed with it, with supposed benefits (without scientific proof) for virility and sexuality.

Country Total GDP (million US dollars) Agriculture’s share of GDP (percent) Manufacturing industry’s share of GDP (percent)
Antigua and Barbuda 1 624 (2018) 1.7 (2018) 2.4 (2018)
Bahamas 12 162 (2017) 1.0 (2017) 2.6 (2017)
Barbados 4 674 (2017) 1.4 (2016) 4.8 (2016)
Belize 1 925 (2018) 10.8 (2017) 6.6 (2017)
Costa Rica 60 126 (2018) 4.6 (2018) 11.9 (2018)
Dominica 504 (2018) 12.7 (2018) 1.3 (2018)
Dominican Republic 81 299 (2018) 5.5 (2018) 13.1 (2018)
El Salvador 26 057 (2018) 4.9 (2018) 16.2 (2018)
Grenada 1,207 (2018) 4.9 (2018) 3.1 (2018)
Guatemala 78 460 (2018) 10.0 (2018) 17.9 (2018)
Haiti 9 658 (2018) 21.0 (2016) 19.0 (2016) 2
Honduras 23 803 (2018) 11.8 (2018) 16.8 (2018)
Jamaica 15 718 (2018) 6.7 (2018) 7.7 (2018)
Canada 1 712 510 (2018) 1.7 (2015) 10.3 (2015)
Cuba 96 851 (2017) 3.8 (2017) 13.5 (2017)
Mexico 1 223 809 (2018) 3.3 (2018) 17.0 (2018)
Nicaragua 13 118 (2018) 15.5 (2018) 14.2 (2018)
Panama 65 055 (2018) 2.2 (2018) 5.8 (2018)
Saint Kitts & Nevis 1,040 (2018) 1.2 (2018) 5.1 (2018)
Saint Lucia 1,876 (2018) 2.1 (2018) 2.3 (2018)
St. Vincent & the Grenadines 813 (2018) 6.7 (2018) 5.0 (2018)
Trinidad & Tobago 23 410 (2018) 0.5 (2018) 15.9 (2018)
USA 20 494 100 (2018) 0.9 (2017) 11.2 (2017)


According to Countryaah, the great economic engine of the North American continent is undoubtedly the strong industry in Canada and the United States, especially the latter. With a high use of cutting edge technology and specialized labor, these two countries are responsible for a large part of the manufactured items of the American continent – which also has South and Central America.

We can highlight products with high added value, such as automobiles, appliances and electronics. With regard to heavy industry, these industrial parks are located mainly in the northeast of the United States and southeast of Canada, in the Great Lakes region, and also in the southwest of the United States, more precisely in Silicon Valley, California.

The Mexican industry is one of the most developed in Latin America, however it does not stand up to its northern neighbors and is characterized mainly by the production of textiles, industrialized foods and chemicals, concentrated in the region of Mexico City and Guadalajara. A characteristic of the Mexican industry is the production units specialized in finalizing the assembly of imported products, the maquiladoras. This type of industry had a great boost with the entry of Mexico in NAFTA, these units are concentrated in northern Mexico, mainly in the state of Sonora.


North America has a diversified agriculture, cultivating corn, soybeans, and wheat on the plains of southern Canada and the midwestern United States, in addition to the production of warm climate fruits in California and the southwestern United States, and cold climate fruits in the Great Lakes region and on the northeastern coast of the USA and southeastern Canada. Agriculture in these countries has a strong technological apparatus and many government subsidies to maintain competitiveness in both the domestic and foreign markets. Mexico produces a wide variety of agricultural crops such as beans and corn, the basis of the Mexican population’s diet, in addition to coffee, fruit, cotton, sisal and soy. These last three are mainly for export. Mexico, like most of Latin America, suffers from a serious concentration of land, making it difficult to develop sustainable agriculture. Livestock is very present in the North American continent, with a strong presence of sheep herds in southern Canada and, mainly, of cattle in the central west and southeast of the USA, with a strong production of milk and dairy products. This sector, as well as in agriculture, has a strong use of technology. In Mexico, the presence of cattle and pigs stands out.

Mining and Oil

North America has large reserves of minerals, such as oil in the southern center and Alaska, the United States, western Canada and eastern Mexico, and natural gas in the same spaces where oil reserves are found. The Gulf of Mexico is full of oil extraction platforms. The uranium is much explored in northern Canada, as well as silver in the desert regions of Mexico. It is also possible to find deposits of coal, iron, copper, nickel, lead and zinc in different regions of North America.

North American Business