Ditching NAFTA without a replacement could be devastating to U.S. agriculture and end up costing Americans more for groceries, according to experts.
Mexico and Canada represent nearly one-third of total U.S. agricultural exports. Corn, soybeans, fresh fruits and vegetables as well as livestock and dairy are major U.S. exports to those countries.
President Donald Trump said in a speech late Tuesday that it's unlikely the U.S. will be able to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. Some believe Trump risks a backlash in the farm belt states where he's had political support if he does away with the trade deal.
"Scrapping NAFTA would have a huge impact on U.S. agriculture," said Joseph Glauber, a senior research fellow in the markets, trade and institutions division of the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington. "I would hope this is just a trade ploy."
Glauber, a former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, told CNBC in an interview that certain anti-dumping provisions sought by some U.S. fruit and vegetable producers would have a negative impact in the end on Americans. And he believes such provisions could end up be being used by Canada and Mexico against U.S. producers.
"Both consumers and producers would lose from scrapping NAFTA," Glauber said. "Consumers would lose cheaper access to fruits and vegetables and year-round access to fruits and vegetables."
At the same time, Glauber said the U.S. agriculture industry would lose without NAFTA because cross-border trade on the livestock side benefits all three countries, including U.S. consumers. For example, he said Mexico ships the U.S. cattle and Canada ships feeder pigs across the border.