When the governor of Colorado came to Mexico on a trade mission this year to see the sights, “one of the most amazing” was a Costco.

“It was as big, clean and modern as any in America,” recalled Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), who found the aisles filled with shoppers bearing “nothing but positive feelings toward the United States.”

Especially toward U.S. stuff.

The Costco was stocked with products stamped “Made in U.S.A.,” including some of the $755 million in goods that Colorado exports to Mexico each year: marbled slabs of steak from Greeley, cans of pinto beans from Holyoke and sacks of russet potatoes out of Monte Vista.

Trade between the United States and Mexico is surging, up 17 percent in 2011 to a record $461 billion, as Mexico vies with China to become America’s second-largest trading partner after Canada. China and the United States did $502 billion in trade last year.

The growing middle class that is fast becoming Mexico’s majority is buying more U.S. goods than ever, while turning Mexico into a more democratic, dynamic and prosperous American ally.

For more, see: Middle-class Mexicans snap up more products ‘Made in USA’