Nebraska would be one of the states hardest hit if the U.S. decides to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to a report released Friday.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released its assessment of which states would feel the biggest negative effects from a NAFTA pullout just as U.S. negotiators were heading back to the bargaining table with their Mexican and Canadian counterparts.
The talks in Mexico City commenced Friday and are expected to last through Tuesday.
President Donald Trump has said he believes NAFTA is "the worst agreement ever negotiated" and is a much better deal for Mexico and Canada than it is for the U.S.
He has sought changes to the deal that many observers have said are unworkable.
Among the most contentious, according to the Bloomberg news service, are increasing the regional content requirement for automobile manufacturing to 85 percent from 62.5 percent, with a 50 percent minimum for U.S. content.
Another contentious U.S. proposal, Bloomberg said, is adding a sunset clause, which would automatically terminate the deal after five years unless the three countries agree to extend it.
Assuming he doesn't get what he wants in a renegotiation, the president has threatened to withdraw from the 23-year-old trade deal.
Experts have agreed that would have negative effects for all three countries, but, according to the chamber, it would hit a dozen states, including Nebraska, much harder than others.
The report projects that 87,000 jobs in the state would be at risk if the agreement is terminated, 10th most among all the states.
"Fully 42 percent of Nebraska exports are destined for customers in Canada and Mexico, generating more than $2.6 billion in export revenue. A large majority of Nebraska’s grain and oilseed (93 percent) exports go to Canada and Mexico, and withdrawing from NAFTA would hit this sector hard," the report says.
"Beef, corn, and soybeans are Nebraska’s chief agricultural products, and the NAFTA market is critical for each. Nebraska is a top beef exporting state, and Mexico is a critical market. However, withdrawal from NAFTA would lead to an increase in Mexican tariffs on beef from zero to 25 percent, a significant blow for Nebraska ranchers."
The report says Michigan would likely be hit the hardest, with 366,000 jobs at risk.
To see the full report, go to: https://www.uschamber.com/above-the-fold/which-states-would-be-hit-hardest-withdrawing-nafta.