Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Southern states, including many rural counties, could be hurt if NAFTA talks fall through

Southern states, including many of their rural counties, depend heavily on trade with Mexico and Canada, and the entire South could be hurt if the troubled North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations fall through, according to an analysis by the bipartisan Southern Legislative Conference.

Since NAFTA's implementation in 1994, exports to Mexico have risen more than 500 percent in Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina, and all SLC states except Oklahoma have seen an increase of at least 125 percent, Roger Moore reports. The percentage of total exports to Mexico in SLC states has gone up too, from an average of 7.2 percent in 1993 to 11.9 percent in 2016.

"Exports to Canada between 1993 and 2016 have increased in every SLC state, from a low of 12 percent in Oklahoma, to a high of 262 percent in Louisiana," Moore reports. But as a percentage of total exports, several SLC states export less to Canada than they did in 1993.

The Census Bureau says "Mexico now is the first or second most important export market for Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas, and it is among the top five export markets for Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina and Virginia," Moore reports. "Meanwhile, Canada is the top export market for Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. For all remaining states in the region, Canada is among the top three export markets."

Imports from Canada and Mexico are also important to SLC states. "With the exception of Louisiana, Canada and/or Mexico are among the top five importers for every SLC member state," Moore reports.

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