Governor Nixon is on a trade mission in Europe at a time when the Obama administration is negotiating formation of a United States-Europe free trade zone. An early assessment indicates the agreement would improve Missouri’s export business in Europe. But the improvement might come at a cost.
Nixon says 26% of Missouri’s export business is done with European countries. The United Kingdom and Belgium are our sixth and seventh biggest export partners. Germany is number eight. The Netherlands are tenth and France is 14th. All of them together, however, do not import as much from Missouri as Canada and Mexico do.
A think tank in Munich Germany, the Ifo Institute, forecasts United States GDP could go up more than thirteen percent in the long term. But it says that improvement would reduce the amount of imports we get from our two biggest partners.
Governor Nixon is wary. He tells us from Paris, “My first rule of economic development also is true in trade. You should never pass an old friend to shake a new friend’s hand.” He says Missouri is trying to expand and to open new markets, but present customers that are seeking to expand their imports of Missouri products should be the center piece of Missouri’s efforts.
The study suggests American trade with Brazil, Russia, India, and China would drop by thirty percent if the new agreement is signed. Nixon has led two trade missions to China and, last year, led one to Brazil.
He plans to get a briefing at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium later in the week.