How a Trump trade war would impact your state

Container Ship, Hong Kong, China
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If your state exports goods and services to China or Mexico, you may want to pay closer attention to President-elect Donald Trump's latest pronouncements on global trade.

Anti-free-trade sentiment helped propel Trump to victory, and he's not waiting until he gets to the White House to demonstrate what his administration's trade policy might look like. He's already used his new bully pulpit to convince air-conditioner manufacturer Carrier to scale back announced job cuts as part of a shift in manufacturing to Mexico.

It's not clear how far Trump plans to go in singling out specific companies to try to influence their offshoring decisions, but he demonstrated again on Tuesday his penchant for bypassing government agencies and procedures by threatening to cancel a $4 billion government order with Boeing for a new Air Force One.

"Well, the plane is totally out of control, it's going to be over $4 billion for Air Force One program," he said. "I think it's ridiculous, I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number. We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money."

In a statement, Boeing said the project is in the planning stages and that the company "look(s) forward to working with the US Air Force on subsequent phases of the program allowing us to deliver the best planes for the President at the best value for the American taxpayer."

Beyond pressing individual companies directly, Trump has promised broader policies that could restrict the flow of exports that U.S. companies heavily depend on.

One of Trump's signature campaign pledges, for example, included repealing or overhauling the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, the two top U.S. trade partners.

"We will either renegotiate it or we will break it," Trump said last fall, calling it "a disaster. Every agreement has an end. Every agreement has to be fair."

Trump has also vowed to raise tariffs on Mexico and China. Those higher tariffs would almost certainly cut into U.S. exports, which represent about $2 trillion, or roughly one-eighth of the nation's gross domestic product.

But that impact varies widely from one U.S. state to another, with West Coast states more heavily reliant on Chinese markets and border states seeing the biggest demand from Mexico.

After decades of liberalized trade deals and lower tariffs helped boost import and export traffic around the world, the engine of global trade is slowing. That's one reason the overall pace of the global economic growth remains relatively weak.

That wave of globalization has also produced a backlash — from American voters who've lost their jobs to British voters who voted in June to reclaim their independence from the European Union.

China represents the third-largest U.S. export market, after Canada and Mexico, accounting for nearly $120 billion worth of goods last year. Overall, that represents less than 8 percent of U.S. exports — or less than 1 percent of total gross domestic product.

But the Chinese market is a much bigger deal for a handful of West Coast states.

Among the most dependent: Washington, which sold roughly 20 percent of its exports to China last year, or nearly $19 billion worth of goods. Airplanes, the state's largest export by far, made up the bulk of the state's sales to China.

California exports some $16 billion to mainland China, with computers and electronics accounting for more than a quarter of the total. Texas was the third-largest exporter to China, with more than $11 billion worth of products that included chemicals, computers and machinery.

Alaska, which exports a smaller volume of goods, sends $1.5 billion worth of its exports — a quarter of the total — to China. Roughly half of that consists of seafood.

U.S. farm states are also big exporters to China, which is the biggest single market for American agricultural products. Some 20 percent of all U.S. farm exports are sold to China, which bought $30 billion worth of food and other farm products in fiscal year 2014, including soybeans, distillers' grains, hides and skins, tree nuts, coarse grains, and cotton and beef, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Mexico — the second-largest U.S. market — bought $236 billion, or nearly 16 percent of last year's total sale of goods and services overseas. Those sales supported an estimated 1.1 million jobs in 2014, according to the latest data available from the Department of Commerce.

The top Texas products sold south of the border include computers ($95 billion last year), transportation equipment ($24 billion) and oil and chemicals ($23 billion).

Other border states also depend heavily on Mexico as a buyer of exports. New Mexico sends 45 percent of its exports south of the border.

But even as the pace of global trade slows, so does support for a trade deal designed to revive it.

After years of talks and months of high-profile meetings and speeches to win approval, the White House failed to convince Congress — or voters — that lowering trade barriers with Europe and Asia will help boost the growth of the U.S. economy.

Earlier this year, President Obama made one last push to try to win backing for the so-called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, aimed at boosting trade between the U.S. and European economies. Supporters of the sweeping deal being negotiated with 28 European Union countries said it could add $100 billion a year to U.S. exports.

But Trump's victory, along with opposition from congressional Republicans, has effectively killed the deal.