Weekly Chart: NAFTA by the Numbers

By Holly K. Sonneland

Canada and Mexico occupy the top two export destination spots for 26 U.S. states, including eight of the 10 biggest state economies.

After months of claiming the North American Free Trade Agreement had “destroyed” the U.S. economy and even drafting an executive order for U.S. withdrawal, President Donald Trump tweeted on April 27 that, after talking with his counterparts in Canada and Mexico, he'd be open to renegotiating instead of leaving the accord. Congressional Republicans had also been putting pressure on the White House not to pull out of NAFTA, calling such a move a potential “disaster.” With $1 trillion in trilateral trade on the line, a withdrawal would have had immediate repercussions throughout the continent. 

That said, officials and free trade proponents from all three countries agree that the 23-year-old deal could use some updating, with a focus on areas such as digital commerce, cross-border shopping, and the so-called rules of origin—which regulate where materials can be sourced from.  

Ninety days after Trump notifies the U.S. Congress that he’s opening talks on the trade deal, the parties will be able to sit down and formally start negotiations. Mexico initiated its own 90-day consultation period in February. Negotiators are keen to wrap up talks before Mexico’s presidential elections in July 2018.  

When they do, here’s a look at the numbers they’ll be considering.