As the U.S., Mexico and Canada begin renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA — an agreement that President Donald Trump famously promised to end — American businesses have doubled down on the argument that NAFTA has been good, on balance, for everyone.    

The renegotiation process is expected to address changes in the economy since 1993, when NAFTA was first ratified. Online commerce was unknown in the ‘90s, and the Mexican oil industry was then controlled by the government.

Economics Professor Tom Fullerton, chair of the Study of Trade in the Americas at the University of Texas at El Paso, says U.S. negotiators will also be working to keep existing lines of free trade open, allowing continued exports of Texas beef, cotton and corn to Mexico and Canada. Texas also exports sweeteners to both countries.

Fullerton says it’s crucial that the U.S. remain a part of NAFTA – not a sure thing, since the president continues to threaten to leave the agreement if he isn’t satisfied with renegotiation efforts. Fullerton says business patterns could be disrupted significantly, and that consumers and U.S. workers would also pay a heavy price. He says a U.S. exit from NAFTA could cause recessions in Canada and Mexico.

 

Written by Shelly Brisbin.

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