According to reports, the White House is considering a withdrawal from NAFTA in the coming days. However, President Donald Trump has not yet decided how to proceed, according to two senior administration officials. The implications for this for Louisiana may not be good.
But if the result of Trump’s policy turn is ultimately a decline in global trade, Louisiana could wind up as collateral damage in the effort to shore up U.S. employment.
When considering America’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, Baton Rouge ranks as the MOST DEPENDENT in the country on exports. Exports measure out to about 25% of Baton Rouge’s gross domestic product, according to a report last week by the Brookings Institution. The New Orleans area comes in third, with exports accounting for nearly one-fifth of its GDP. Both of these metro areas are heavily port and shipping by vessel economically tied.
The White House is currently mulling an executive order declaring the US’ intent to withdraw from NAFTA, a move that could trigger a renegotiation of the trade pact rather than outright withdrawal, the officials said.
But Trump could also simply launch the US into renegotiations of the trade pact with Canada and Mexico rather than making a bold move declaring the US’ intent to withdraw.
Mexico accounted for nearly $5.9 billion worth of exports from Louisiana in 2015. A 20 percent tariff on Mexican imports — as suggested by a Trump Spokesperson — could put a huge damper on that trade.
Workers in Louisiana are already hobbled by low oil prices, indicating lower jobs in the oilfield. A withdrawal from NAFTA could signal further job losses in Louisiana.
See updates to this story at NOLA.com
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