The recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia is generating questions regarding how important Russia is to the Texas economy, particularly as policies restricting trade and investment interactions are contemplated. The short answer: not very.
Since the beginnings of people living in social groups millennia ago, goods have been exchanged in some form. Through imports and exports, consumer choice improves, prices are reduced, business opportunities escalate, and economies grow. The essential mathematics explaining the process were worked out in the early 1800s. Pandemic-induced supply chain snarls have illustrated the interconnectedness of the contemporary world and just how much consumers rely on a steady stream of imports.
A new trade agreement covering about 30% of the global economy has been signed. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) includes China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, and 10 Southeast Asian economies. It's the world's largest in terms of the amount of gross product covered, slightly above the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) according to most estimates. About 2.1 billion people reside in member nations. India is not in the deal at this point but can join at a later date.
In the midst of the pandemic's ongoing fallout, there was a bit of very good news for the economy earlier this month that, as with so many other things, did not get the attention it should have (or would have in different times). The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) has now officially gone into effect. It has taken years to negotiate and ratify the agreement among the three nations, which updates and replaces the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The latest forecast for the global economy from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicates the pace of growth may increase over the next year. This pattern would not only enhance conditions in a number of countries, but also is beneficial to major trading nations such as the United States.
A strong trade agreement with Mexico and Canada is clearly a "win" for the US economy. While the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) must still pass the US Senate and be ratified in its revised form by Mexico (which has some concerns) and Canada, it appears that a structure has been essentially finalized to replace the 25-year old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The original pact redefined the economies of the entire continent, and the next generation will allow the momentum to continue.
The US-China trade war continues to escalate with the addition of an alleged currency manipulation by the Chinese government. It's the latest in a long list of actions and reactions by both nations, and the stakes are escalating.
The latest round of potential tariffs on imports from China expands the list to include virtually everything, and almost every sector will be adversely impacted. Numerous products which were removed via the hearing process from the $34 billion ("List 1"), $16 billion ("List 2") and $200 billion ("List 3") rosters are now included in the proposed $300 billion list ("List 4").
President Trump has threatened to impose 5% tariffs on all goods from Mexico on June 10 if Mexico does not take action to slow the number of immigrants at the border. As I am writing, he has vowed to continue to escalate the levies to 25%, Mexico has threatened to retaliate, and Congress has announced that it will stop them with enough votes to override a veto. Who knows what the status will be when you are reading this? Even if the situation is resolved, the threat of such action increases uncertainty and makes it more difficult to finalize a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement. If the tariffs actually go into effect and are maintained, it would cost hundreds of thousands of US jobs.