OP ED: NAFTA important to all Missourians

   

By Matt Yutzy

I was recently fortunate enough to meet President Trump after he landed at the Lambert Airport in St. Louis and we had a short interaction before he headed off to speak with Boeing. There, discussion was planned to revolve around how tax cuts have stimulated our economy. I’m certain the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was also a likely topic.

It was exciting to meet the President of the United States and shake his hand; I wore my MAGA hat as I was an early supporter of his campaign. I have supported Trump and much of his agenda.

Although some trade deals aren’t going great and aren’t in the best interest of Americans, the agreement with Canada and Mexico, NAFTA, has been very beneficial for Missourians. My business relies on products from Canada, for instance, and a tariff on this products will only cost my business and my customers more. We are an agriculture state and the impact on farmers and Missouri in particularly will be most significant.

The Show Me State exported more than $3.6 billion dollars of agricultural products in 2016 with 51% of all exports going to Mexico.  Missouri’s pork exports to Mexico would be subject to a 10% tariff if the U.S. were to withdraw from NAFTA and a 25% tariff imposed on beef.  Missouri’s farmers are depending on the Trump Administration to maintain a positive relationship with Canada and Mexico as free-trade markets for agricultural products.

Since the agreement’s inception in 1994, NAFTA has made a positive difference for Missouri’s farmers and ranchers.  We have seen growth in export figures nearly triple since 2000 when exports were $1.3 billion for agricultural goods.    Our state is dependent upon the success of the agriculture industry as it trickles down into every aspect of economies for the small towns spread across Missouri.

If the farmers in my home area of Osage County are not doing well financially, they will not be able to do as much business and the effects ripple throughout the community.

Missouri’s farmers and ranchers along with the small towns where they reside are dependent upon NAFTA to remain in place.  There are points in the agreement needing to be updated to meet the needs of 21st Century commerce.  President Trump’s tax cuts have made a positive impact on farmers and small businesses.  I hope the Trump Administration will continue working through negotiations for free-trade markets with Canada and Mexico to keep America great.