Changes in trade agreements could cause serious harm to agriculture industry
AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) -
As trade agreements in Washington continue to be restructured, farmers in the Texas Panhandle could be the ones who pay.
More than a third of all goods exported from Texas are shipped to Mexico, making it our most popular trading partner.
President Donald Trump's actions to remove the United States from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), will make it harder for producers in the Panhandle to export to foreign countries.
Given the agriculture industry's dependence on exports, one economist believes these plans could reduce economic activity in our area.
"On any given year we send $20 billion plus in agricultural exports to Mexico, so if they start saying 'we're going some place else' that's going to be a significant hit," said Management Economist Professor with Agrilife Extension Service, Steve Amosson.
The proposed 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico, if enacted, would greatly hurt the cattle industry.
Last year, between January and November the U.S. imported more than 800,000 cows from Mexico.
Economist estimate around half of them are raised and fill feed lots here in Texas.
Proposed tariffs would make these imports more expensive, reducing cattle production in the Panhandle.
"If we put tariffs on them and we can't get those cattle across the border, it is going to create havoc in the high plains," said Amosson. "It will be one of the most affected, if not the most affected region in the country."
As Trump's administration moves forward with restructuring and figuring out its trade agreements, economists will be closely watching to see how domestic and foreign agriculture markets respond.