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Joe Nocera

This Map Shows Why Trump Couldn't Kill Nafta

The uncertainty around the Canada deal has hurt relationships years in the making.

Canada bound?

Canada bound?

Photographer: Justin Ide/Bloomberg


If you want to understand why it was so important for the U.S. and Canada to close the deal on an updated North American Free Trade Agreement — something they finally did late Sunday night, after 13 months of wrangling — take a look at the map below.

Most policy discussions about trade tend to focus on China, which has a $337 billion trade deficit with the U.S., and which has caused President Donald Trump to impose $200 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods. Yet as you can see from the map, China is the largest trading partner for only five states. Meanwhile, unheralded Canada is the largest export market for 36 states; indeed, in 2017, Canada bought $340.7 billion worth of goods and services from the U.S., twice that of the Chinese.