With international trade in the news as of late, one thing that can’t be denied is Wisconsin’s dependence on the North American Free Trade Agreement. That’s why talk of withdrawing from NAFTA should concern everyone.
What many don’t realize is that 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States. In order to get access to those consumers for American businesses, our nation sets up trade agreements, and while NAFTA, which went into effect in 1994, may need to be modernized, there is no argument that NAFTA benefits Wisconsin workers, businesses and consumers.
In fact, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, withdrawing from NAFTA would hit Wisconsin the second hardest of any state in the entire nation. That’s because 46 percent of all Wisconsin exports go to Canada and Mexico. At a value of $9.6 billion in exports and accounting for 249,000 Wisconsin jobs, there is absolutely no doubt that ending NAFTA would have a massive negative impact on our state.
While it’s never a bad idea to review and update trade deals for the changing times, threatening to withdraw from NAFTA is not a joking matter. Wisconsin cannot afford in either jobs or exports to leave NAFTA.