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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

Topic: Canada

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November 7, 2013 at 10:54 AM

NAFTA at 20, a mixed blessing

Twenty years ago next month, President Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) into law. A new analysis from the Brookings Institution shows that metro Seattle ranks 19th in total North American trade, 19th in trade with Canada and 20th in trade with Mexico.

Even so, the $7.17 billion in trade with North American partners accounts for only 18.6 percent of Seattle’s total global trade, so diverse are our international connections. Our share of advanced industry trade was 58.7 percent of all exports and imports. That compares with 47 percent for the United States.

The study, which mostly uses 2010 numbers, ranks the 100 largest American metropolitan areas, along with 59 Mexican and 33 Canadian metros. It offers a useful interactive tool that shows trade flows and can be customized by metro.

It especially shows how supply chains and manufacturing networks are now trans-national and continental in scope.

“The world is emerging as a network of cities that link together through trade and learn from each other about how best to urbanize,” Bruce Katz, Brookings vice president, co-director of the Metropolitan Policy Program, and co-director of the Global Cities Initiative, said in a prepared statement. “Nowhere is that more clear than in North America, given the integrated nature of the U.S., Mexican, and Canadian economies.”

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