How Might New Trade Deal in North America Affect Southeast Michigan?

Jake Neher/WDET

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) might be in for a shakeup – and Michigan could feel the effects.

President Donald Trump has been negotiating with the U.S.’s neighbors to the north and south. Mexico, the U.S., and Canada have been trying to negotiate a new trade deal for about a year. While Mexico seems to be on board with small changes – the bigger impact on Michigan has to do with Canada.

Michigan State University professor of economics Charles Ballard says a trade deal with Canada is essential to Michigan.

He says, if it goes away, “That would be a huge blow to the Michigan economy. Because that supply chain, especially in the auto industry which is now, essentially, fully integrated across the border, now you’d have to pay tariffs.”

Ballard says it’s likely that negotiations with Canada will be similar to the deals being struck with Mexico – minor tweaks and, at the end of the day, a deal that’s close to what is already in place.

Michigan’s agricultural industry is also hoping the U.S. locks up an agreement with Canada.

John Kran is with the Michigan Farm Bureau, and he says they’re excited that it looks like President Donald Trump has reached a trade agreement with Mexico. But they’re hoping now Trump will reach an agreement with Canada.

The sooner we can have these reassurances, the better position we are as Michigan agriculture, especially as we move into our harvest season,” Kran said.

The agriculture industry has been strained lately. The federal Department of Agriculture recently announced it will pay $4.7 billion to farmers who grow soybeans, cotton, and other products that were hit by Trump’s trade war with China.

Crain’s Detroit Business senior reporter Dustin Walsh, who covers economic issues, joins Detroit Today to talk about the situation and what it might mean for Michigan’s economy. 

Click on the audio player above to hear that conversation.

Image credit: NOAA

About the Author

Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.  

Cheyna Roth


Cheyna has interned with Michigan Radio and freelanced for WKAR public radio in Lansing. She’s also done some online freelancing and worked on documentary films.   Follow @Cheyna_R

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