By State Senator Wayne Wallingford
As a member of the Missouri State Senate and Chairman of Missouri Vets4Energy, there is little that I can do to influence one of the most serious and immediate issues facing our state and nation, namely the Trump Administration’s decision regarding the termination of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). However, like you, I can make my opinion known and that is the purpose of this opinion piece.
There is no question that NAFTA works for America and for Missouri. Trade with Mexico and Canada supports 11 million jobs, and has resulted in an annual growth of $127 billion, according to recent studies. The U.S. oil and natural gas industry is a major component of that economic growth. In 2016, the U.S. sold 650 million barrels of crude oil and refined products to Canada and Mexico which supports our energy security and reinforced the buffer that U.S. production provides against overseas disruptions.
Key federal negotiators of NAFTA must maintain provisions relating to the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) which ensures that U.S. companies’ investments in Canada and Mexico are protected and providing American businesses operating across borders guarantee that the same property and due process protections found in the U. S. Constitution will remain in place.
Closer to home, according to a study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, termination of this agreement could jeopardize nearly 250,000 jobs in Missouri and $7.8 billion in revenues in our state (Kansas City Star Guest Commentary: Edward Hamberger, February 1, 2018). In that commentary, Mr. Hamberger who is President and CEO of the Association of American Railroads, writes that these benefits are “in large part due to the state’s manufacturing and agricultural sectors, which railroads assist in a major way in moving products for production and sale. More than 90 percent of the state’s motor vehicle manufacturing products go to Canada and Mexico.”
NAFTA is one of those rare issues that both Senator Roy Blunt and Senator Claire McCaskill can agree that this trade deal has been a success. I join them in urging the Trump Administration to continue this trade compact with our neighbors and urge them to include protections such as ISDS in the final compact.
Senator Wayne Wallingford represents the 27th District and is Chairman of Missouri Vets4Energy.