NAFTA Talks Worrying Georgia Exporters

As exports continue to grow in importance to Georgia's economy, some state officials worry about potential changes to NAFTA.
Credit Stephen B. Morton / Associated Press
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Exports are playing an increasingly vital role in Georgia’s economy, soaring by 52 percent in the past decade to $35.6 billion. Broken down by industrial sector, the growth is even more dramatic.

According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, exports by Georgia companies in the automotive business skyrocketed by 150 percent between 2007 and last year, according to the state Department of Economic Development (DED).

But there is concern in the state’s business community that President Donald Trump’s determination to renegotiate the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) could send those glowing numbers in the wrong direction.

“Some components of NAFTA need updating,” said Roy Bowen, president of the Georgia Association of Manufacturers. “But this agreement is working very well for all three countries. … We don’t want to throw out the baby with the bath water.”

Canada and Mexico are Georgia’s top export markets, accounting for $5.86 billion and $3.53 billion in exports in 2016, respectively.

Dave Williams covers government for Atlanta Business Chronicle.