JACKSON—Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant cheered on President Trump’s threats to shut down the border between the U.S. and Mexico, even though such a move would threaten $2.5 billion in trade with his state’s third largest export market.
“We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with,” Trump tweeted Friday morning.
“Shut it down, Mr. President,” the Republican governor tweeted in response that afternoon. “The MAGA Nation will stand with you.”
Millions of U.S., Mississippi Jobs Could Be Lost
A 2014 study from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars estimated that 40,800 Mississippi jobs and 5 million nationwide depend on trade with Mexico.
In 2017, Mississippi imported $1.6 billion in trade with Mexico, with most of that coming from purchases of motor-vehicle parts, electrical equipment, chemical goods and medical equipment. Mexico bought $961 million in Mississippi goods, with most of its purchases coming from chemicals, iron and steel, petroleum and coal products, electrical components, and paper-mill products.
In total, Mexico accounted for nearly 9 percent of Mississippi’s imports in 2017.
The Wilson Center study noted the importance of trade with Mexico to the auto industry. Auto-production plants in Mississippi include a Nissan plant and a Toyota plant.
“Without the availability of nearby Mexican plants to do the final assembly of light vehicles, it is quite possible that the vast U.S. parts-producing network for these vehicles would migrate to someplace outside of the continent,” the Wilson Center study reads.
Mississippi’s dependence on foreign trade has increased dramatically in recent decades, as the share of Mississippi jobs tied directly to such trade grew from 8.6 percent in 1992 to 21.8 percent in 2013, an analysis by Business Roundtable—which supports free trade