By abandoning the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the new administration slammed the door on potentially lucrative Asian markets like Vietnam, said Daniel Ikenson, director of trade policy studies at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.
"They've been somewhat difficult for U.S. exporters to penetrate, so those barriers to trade would have gone away or would've been reduced considerably," he said.
A recent Brookings Institution study shows that, by the numbers, a handful of big cities like New York and Los Angeles do the heavy lifting when it comes to U.S. exports. But when you look at how important exports are to a city's economy, a different picture emerges, one that shows smaller cities — many in red-state territory — with the most to lose from the isolationist policies Trump has embraced.
"As a share of a local economy, the most export-intensive places in the country are smaller — they tend to be in the Midwest in places like Indiana and Michigan, or the South," said Joseph Parilla, a fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program of the Brookings Institution.
Parilla pointed to vice president Mike Pence's hometown of Columbus, Indiana, as one such example. "Half of its economy is devoted to exports… compared to about 10 percent of the nation's economy," he said.
David Brown, deputy director for the economic program at the Third Way, said rural areas that depend on agriculture are especially likely to struggle.
"Agriculture — it's not the biggest part of the American economy, but in some parts of America, it's virtually the whole economy," he said. "U.S. farmers had a lot to gain from the TPP… and they've gained a lot from NAFTA," he said.