Report: Texas could lose nearly a million jobs without a deal on NAFTA

FILE - In this July 7, 2017 file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at the G20 Summit, in Hamburg. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
FILE - In this July 7, 2017 file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at the G20 Summit, in Hamburg. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce this week describes Texas losing 970,000 jobs if the United States backs out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico.

If the country negotiators cannot agree on trade rules, prices in Texas might increase in different industries, including grocery stores. The night before millions sit down to feast on Thanksgiving favorites, there’s a possibility that next year’s dinner could cost significantly more.

The North American Free Trade Agreement allows Mexico to export food to Texas at a low price. That includes melons, cucumbers, limes, lemons, avocados, strawberries, tomatoes, bananas, several different types of nuts, and let’s not forget, several different types of beer.

Chris Wallace, president of the Texas Association of Business, says it would be “devastating to our consumer market. Consumers could end up paying more for those types of products if we were to withdraw from NAFTA.”

Wallace says Mexico is our state’s number one trading partner and Texans reap the benefits every day in grocery stores. President Trump has threatened to end NAFTA and start taxing imports and exports to encourage Americans to buy American products.  Wallace is tentatively optimistic an agreement can be reached.

“There is not doubt that it needs to be updated, it needs to be modernized, but our philosophy has been one, do no harm. We must do no harm in this agreement,” said Wallace.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says if a tariff is added to Texas beef, the price could jump as high as 25 percent.

NAFTA negotiators expect to have an agreed upon proposal in the weeks ahead. Then it would be need to be approved by President Trump. Negotiators hope to finish their work by next spring and summer when Mexican and American elections could derail the process.

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