Arkansas governor pushes for NAFTA as critical to the state’s economy

January 17, 2018 – The governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, touted the positive aspects of trade with Mexico and Canada this week at the World Trade Center Arkansas.

AR Gov on NAFTA

The Arkansas business and agriculture community attended the event and included executives from Tyson Foods and Walmart and leaders from the Arkansas Farm Bureau and Farmers for Free Trade. These leaders stressed the importance of NAFTA to the Arkansas economy and how the trade agreement positions Arkansas as a global leader.

“We are known as global leaders,” said Gov. Hutchinson. “We cannot retreat from that global presence in the marketplace without harming our workers and businesses in the state.”

NAFTA’s impact on the state of Arkansas is significant as it is on many Heartland states. More than 100,000 jobs in Arkansas depend on trade with Canada and Mexico and Arkansas shares a positive trade balance with both countries. Exports to Mexico are growing 3.6 times faster than state exports to any other country and have grown by 700 percent, according to Melvin Torres, Director of Western Hemisphere Trade for the World Trade Center Arkansas.

Exports to Canada include more than $1.2 billion in goods and services while supporting more than 66 thousand jobs. These numbers will likely increase based on recent U.S. export trends.

“Canada and Mexico account for a third of all of Arkansas exports,” said Sara Lilygren, Board President of Farmers for Free Trade, in a statement released by the organization. “Importantly, our NAFTA partners are a huge market for Arkansas agricultural exports, from rice, to poultry, to dairy. The integration of the North American supply chain benefits Arkansas, our rural communities as well as customers around the world.”

As Arkansas Governor, Mr. Hutchinson is outspoken on the benefit of trade to the state, especially agriculture trade. He recently made an official proclamation, naming December 17, 2017 Agriculture Trade Awareness Day in the State of Arkansas.
In addition to agricultural trade, Gov. Hutchinson also emphasized that state manufacturing is dependent on trade.

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