President Donald Trump carried the Palmetto State very easily in the election, but it could be a state hit by a trade war with Mexico and Canada if the president renegotiates the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The administration is purposing a 20 percent tax on Mexican goods entering the United States, which administration officials say is just one option.
The Greenville News reports that a tax on imports from Mexico and Canada would cause tariffs on American goods shipped to those countries in retaliation. That would damage South Carolina’s exports to Mexico and Canada, which has expanded 83 percent in the last decade to nearly $6.2 billion in 2015, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
That makes South Carolina one of the states most vulnerable to a trade war because of its dependence on international trade. South Carolina has seen its exports flourish after a manufacturing sector recovery across the state the past few years. A new report from CNBC listed South Carolina as among the top 10 states that would be negatively impacted by a North American trade war.
According to the report, South Carolina business leaders said that they are hoping that the president will negotiate better deals for the state’s export business.
Clemson University’s economics department interim chair Scott Baier said that, if the U.S. pulls out of NAFTA, it would likely bring some manufacturing jobs back to the country in the beginning, but would cost the American economy down the road and would have little or no impact on jobs long-term.