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Issue Brief | October 2017

NAFTA Trade Data – SLC States, Canada and Mexico

Roger Moore, Policy Analyst

The Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) has studied the centrality of the Southern region’s economic integration with Canada and Mexico since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) originally was implemented in 1994. After NAFTA’s implementation, the SLC published multiple analyses related to the trade agreement’s impact on the region, including The Influence of the North American Free Trade Agreement on Economic and Social Programs Supported by State Governments in the South; The North American Free Trade Agreement: Changing Economic and Social Programs of Southern States; and NAFTA ’95: A Report Card. The historical context provided by data in SLC’s various publications is essential to understanding the extent to which regional trade has been influenced by NAFTA, and the ways in which it could be impacted if the trade agreement is significantly modified in the months ahead.

As officials from Canada, Mexico and the United States attempt to renegotiate NAFTA’s stipulations, it is instructive for policymakers to understand the current position of SLC states with regard to the export and import of goods with Canada and Mexico, prior to any overhaul of the expansive agreement. Canada and Mexico are important trading partners for SLC member states, meaning any disruption to trade as a result of renegotiation could have significant ramifications across state economies, including in the agriculture, automotive and manufacturing industries.

Since NAFTA’s implementation in 1994, trade between the SLC region and Canada and Mexico has changed dramatically. According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, national exports and imports to/from Mexico increased by 455 percent and 637 percent, respectively, between 1993 and 2016. Meanwhile, exports and imports to/from Canada increased 165 percent and 150 percent, respectively, during the same period.

Exports to Mexico, in particular, have risen exponentially across the region, with Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina all experiencing increases of more than 500 percent between 1993 and 2016. With the exception of Oklahoma, where exports to Mexico have risen by approximately 82 percent since 1993, every state in the region has seen an increase of at least 125 percent.

As a percentage of their total exports, SLC states likewise have increased the amount of trade to Mexico. Across the region, the percentage of all exports to Mexico averaged 7.2 percent in 1993, compared to 11.9 percent in 2016. 

Exports to Canada between 1993 and 2016 have increased in every SLC state, from a low of 12 percent in Oklahoma, to a high of 262 percent in Kentucky. However, as a percentage of total exports, several SLC states, including Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee, export less to Canada than they did in 1993. Across the region, the percentage of all exports to Canada averaged 21.5 percent in 1993; in 2016, it dropped slightly to 19.5 percent.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Mexico now is the first or second most important export market for Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas, and it is among the top five export markets for Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina and Virginia.

Meanwhile, Canada is the top export market for Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. For all remaining states in the region, Canada is among the top three export markets.

Imports from Canada and Mexico also have a major impact on economies across the SLC region. With the exception of Louisiana, Canada and/or Mexico are among the top five importers for every SLC member state.

Across the SLC region, the total value of exports and imports to/from Canada and Mexico in 2016 was approximately $378 billion, representing more than one third of the national total.


SLC States’ Exports to Mexico 1993 and 2016 (millions of dollars)
Source: United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Data. (Calculation made via Consumer Price Index Inflation Calculator, Bureau of Labor Statistics.)
State Exports to
Mexico 1993
(in 2016 dollars)
Exports to Mexico 2016 Percent increase
Alabama $344 $2,633 664.5
Arkansas $174 $685 294.0
Florida $1,256 $2,830 125.3
Georgia $684 $3,526 415.7
Kentucky $328 $2,226 578.8
Louisiana $834 $5,484 557.5
Mississippi $150 $1,029 584.1
Missouri $655 $2,534 286.6
North Carolina $842 $3,012 257.6
Oklahoma $294 $536 82.5
South Carolina $241 $2,118 777.3
Tennessee $778 $4,466 474.4
Texas $33,909 $91,746 170.6
Virginia $360 $1,090 202.9
West Virginia $62 $179 187.6

SLC States’ Percentage of Exports to Mexico 1993 and 2016
Source: United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Data.
State Percent of all exports to Mexico 1993 Percent of all exports to Mexico 2016
Alabama 5.2 12.9
Arkansas 6.7 12.0
Florida 4.1 5.4
Georgia 5.0 9.9
Kentucky 4.2 7.6
Louisiana 3.3 11.3
Mississippi 4.9 9.8
Missouri 9.8 18.2
North Carolina 4.4 10.0
Oklahoma 7.2 10.6
South Carolina 2.8 6.8
Tennessee 7.3 14.2
Texas 39.0 39.7
Virginia 2.1 6.7
West Virginia 2.4 3.6

SLC States’ Exports and Imports to/from Mexico 2016 (millions of dollars)
Source: United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Data.
National Rank State Exports to Mexico Percent of all exports Imports from Mexico Percent of all imports Total imports and exports
18 Alabama $2,633 12.9 $3,177 14.4 $5,810
36 Arkansas $685 12.0 $597 7.6 $1,282
10 Florida $2,830 5.4 $5,784 7.9 $8,614
8 Georgia $3,526 9.9 $6,469 7.5 $9,995
13 Kentucky $2,226 7.6 $5,197 13.0 $7,423
15 Louisiana $5,484 11.3 $1,099 3.4 $6,583
30 Mississippi $1,029 9.8 $1,552 11.1 $2,581
21 Missouri $2,534 18.2 $2,692 15.6 $5,226
12 North Carolina $3,012 10.0 $4,583 9.7 $7,595
35 Oklahoma $536 10.6 $815 9.6 $1,351
20 South Carolina $2,118 6.8 $3,395 9.4 $5,513
7 Tennessee $4,466 14.2 $7,324 9.7 $11,790
1 Texas $91,746 39.7 $81,007 35.3 $172,753
32 Virginia $1,090 6.7 $783 3.0 $1,873
40 West Virginia $179 3.6 $230 6.9 $409

SLC States’ Exports to Canada 1993 and 2016 (millions of dollars)
Source: United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Data.
State Exports to
Canada 1993
(in 2016 dollars)
Exports to Canada 2016 Percent increase
Alabama $1,376 $4,135 200.6
Arkansas $836 $1,164 39.3
Florida $2,692 $3,502 30.1
Georgia $2,763 $5,856 112.0
Kentucky $2,329 $7,478 221.1
Louisiana $741 $2,682 262.1
Mississippi $619 $2,186 253.2
Missouri $2,740 $5,234 91.0
North Carolina $4,427 $6,407 44.7
Oklahoma $1,241 $1,399 12.7
South Carolina $1,929 $3,478 80.3
Tennessee $3,530 $8,722 147.1
Texas $7,149 $19,960 179.2
Virginia $1,873 $2,906 55.2
West Virginia $466 $1,537 230.0

SLC States’ Percentage of Exports to Canada 1993 and 2016
Source: United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Data.
State Percent of all exports to Canada 1993 Percent of all exports to Canada 2016
Alabama 20.1 20.2
Arkansas 32.1 20.4
Florida 8.9 6.7
Georgia 20.4 16.4
Kentucky 30.0 25.6
Louisiana 2.9 5.5
Mississippi 20.0 20.8
Missouri 41.2 37.6
North Carolina 23.4 21.2
Oklahoma 30.5 27.7
South Carolina 22.4 11.1
Tennessee 33.1 27.7
Texas 8.2 8.6
Virginia 11.1 17.8
West Virginia 18.2 30.5

SLC States’ Exports and Imports to/from Canada 2016 (millions of dollars)
Source: United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Data.
National Rank State Exports to Canada Percent of all exports Imports from Canada Percent of all imports Total imports and exports
21 Alabama $4,135 20.2 $2,076 9.4 $6,211
43 Arkansas $1,164 20.4 $753 9.6 $1,917
19 Florida $3,502 6.7 $4,293 5.8 $7,795
16 Georgia $5,856 16.4 $3,997 4.6 $9,853
13 Kentucky $7,478 25.6 $3,470 8.7 $10,948
28 Louisiana $2,682 5.5 $1,481 4.6 $4,163
37 Mississippi $2,186 20.8 $909 6.5 $3,095
18 Missouri $5,234 37.6 $2,956 17.2 $8,190
17 North Carolina $6,407 21.2 $3,351 7.1 $9,758
30 Oklahoma $1,399 27.7 $2,542 29.9 $3,941
20 South Carolina $3,478 11.1 $2,940 8.1 $6,418
10 Tennessee $8,722 27.7 $5,148 6.8 $13,870
4 Texas $19,960 8.6 $15,228 6.6 $35,188
25 Virginia $2,906 17.8 $1,920 7.4 $4,826
39 West Virginia $1,537 30.5 $1,126 33.8 $2,663

Top Five Export Destinations for SLC States
* Mexico is the 9th largest export market for West Virginia.
Source: United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Data.
Alabama Arkansas Florida Georgia Kentucky
1. Canada 1. Canada 1. Brazil 1. Canada 1. Canada
2. China 2. France 2. Canada 2. Mexico 2. United Kingdom
3. Germany 3. Mexico 3. Mexico 3. China 3. France
4. Mexico 4. Japan 4. Colombia 4. Germany 4. Mexico
5. United Kingdom 5. China 5. Germany 5. Japan 5. Brazil
Louisiana Mississippi Missouri North Carolina Oklahoma
1. China 1. Canada 1. Canada 1. Canada 1. Canada
2. Mexico 2. Mexico 2. Mexico 2. Mexico 2. Mexico
3. Canada 3. Panama 3. China 3. China 3. Germany
4. Netherlands 4. China 4. Japan 4. Saudi Arabia 4. Singapore
5. Japan 5. Guatemala 5. Belgium 5. Japan 5. Japan
South Carolina Tennessee Texas Virginia West Virginia *
1. China 1. Canada 1. Mexico 1. Canada 1. Canada
2. Germany 2. Mexico 2. Canada 2. China 2. China
3. Canada 3. China 3. China 3. Mexico 3. Belgium
4. United Kingdom 4. Japan 4. Brazil 4. United Kingdom 4. Brazil
5. Mexico 5. Belgium 5. South Korea 5. Germany 5. Netherlands

Top Five Importers to SLC States
* Canada is Georgia’s 6th largest importer.
Canada and Mexico are Louisiana’s 6th and 10th largest importers, respectively.
Mexico is Virginia’s 9th largest importer.
Source: United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Data.
Alabama Arkansas Florida Georgia * Kentucky
1. South Korea 1. China 1. China 1. China 1. China
2. Germany 2. France 2. Mexico 2. Germany 2. Mexico
3. Mexico 3. Canada 3. Canada 3. Mexico 3. Japan
4. Canada 4. Mexico 4. Germany 4. South Korea 4. Canada
5. China 5. Germany 5. Japan 5. Japan 5. Germany
Louisiana Mississippi Missouri North Carolina Oklahoma
1. Saudi Arabia 1. China 1. China 1. China 1. Canada
2. Venezuela 2. Mexico 2. Canada 2. Mexico 2. China
3. Russia 3. Venezuela 3. Mexico 3. Canada 3. Mexico
4. Iraq 4. Canada 4. Germany 4. Germany 4. Japan
5. Algeria 5. Japan 5. United Arab Emirates 5. Japan 5. Germany
South Carolina Tennessee Texas Virginia West Virginia
1. Germany 1. China 1. Mexico 1. China 1. Canada
2. China 2. Japan 2. China 2. Germany 2. Japan
3. Mexico 3. Mexico 3. Canada 3. Canada 3. Mexico
4. Canada 4. Ireland 4. South Korea 4. Japan 4. China
5. Japan 5. Canada 5. Germany 5. Malaysia 5. Germany

References

Foreign Trade Data, United States Census Bureau, https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/state/data/index.html (accessed October 30, 2017).

“NAFTA ’95: A Report Card,” Southern Legislative Conference, 1995.

“U.S.-Canada Trade Facts,” Office of the United States Trade Representative, https://ustr.gov/countries-regions/americas/canada (accessed October 30, 2017).

“U.S.-Mexico Trade Facts,” Office of the United States Trade Representative, https://ustr.gov/countries-regions/americas/mexico (accessed October 30, 2017).