The easy flow of goods over international borders remains at the forefront for many U.S. farmers and ranchers as North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations enter round six later this month.

Agriculture relies heavily on treaties like NAFTA to move their goods to foreign ports. However, there are those business owners who put less emphasis on whether or not NAFTA survives.

Colleen Bradford Krantz has the details.

Three-quarters of central U.S. business managers surveyed by a Midwestern university say leaving the North American Free Trade Agreement will have little or no impact on their companies.

The results of the survey, conducted by Creighton University’s Economic Forecasting Group, surprised its director, economics professor Ernie Goss, who quickly pointed out the importance of agricultural exports for most of the nine Midwestern and Southern states where the surveyed supply managers live.

Ernie Goss, director, Creighton University Economic Forecasting Group: “We asked them what they saw as the big challenges looking ahead and almost 50 percent said looking ahead said competition from abroad, which is sort of unusual when we ask them about impact from NAFTA only about 21, 22 percent saw negative impacts from abandoning NAFTA. Now, we economists are like you abandon NAFTA that’s going to be a big problems. Well, they don’t think so, the businesses that we survey.”

Among the nine central states surveyed, Creighton said North Dakota has the most to lose, followed by Iowa and Missouri, if the U.S. were to step away from NAFTA as President Donald Trump has suggested.

According to the federal government, U.S. goods exported to Mexico increased 455 percent between 1993, the year before NAFTA was signed, and 2016. U.S. exports to Canada increased 165 percent during the same time period.

Mexico, however, saw the greatest gain in goods it exported to the U.S., growing 637 percent during that same time period. Canada saw exports to the U.S. increase 150 percent. However, none of these numbers can account for gains that might have happened without a formal trade agreement in place.

By Colleen Bradford Krantz,