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More questions than answers following election of Trump

     NAFTA

The constantly shifting positions taken by President Elect Donald Trump make it difficult to predict what he will actually do when he moves into the White House in early 2017. 

According to CNN, a leaked memo they obtained (not verified by Universal) suggests Trump would begin reshaping U.S. trade policy on day 1 by renegotiating or withdrawing (by 2020) from NAFTA.  The memo reportedly states Trump will seek to negotiate a bilateral trade deal with Canada and other nations, which may go back to the days of the old Canada-USA Free Trade Agreement that preceded NAFTA.

Trump stated in his first 100 days speech that the U.S. will formally notify TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) members of the U.S. intent to withdraw.  According to many sources the TPP, a point of contention for both Trump and Hillary Clinton, has been unofficially dead for some time but formal withdrawal by the U.S. will seal the fate of the proposed 12 Pacific Rim nation trade deal.

Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist for Capital Economics says, “we simply can’t know what type of President Trump will be”.

Trump is on record as saying that he would increase tariffs on both Mexico and China by 35% and 45%, respectively.   This suggests that he might also target other major trading partners, but some political observers say Canada-U.S. trade is not a priority for Trump.

Trade experts say Trump’s plans could trigger a trade war that hurts everyone, including the United States.  However, Trump’s position on many issues is already softening and many observers expect that trend to continue after he takes office. 

For more information, contact Brian Rowe, General Manager – Customs Consulting Services.

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