What Trump Wants Out of NAFTA Discussions
Since the infancy of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, trade has been high on his agenda. Specifically, he's taken aim at the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as something that needs to be reorganized.
He'll get his chance, as trade officials from the trade trifecta of the U.S., Mexico and Canada will meet in Mexico Sept. 1 to 5, then later that month in Canada, finally meeting in Washington in October.
So, what does Trump and the U.S. want out of these talks exactly, and how can it affect our current situation?
Probably the main focus is Trump's desire to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico.
Robert Lighthizer, Trump's top trade official, said in Washington last week that NAFTA has "fundamentally failed," according to the Los Angeles Times. He also blamed it for the exodus of domestic manufacturing and the loss of about 700,000 jobs, possibly even more.
Howver, the Washington Post rebutted this claim, stating that Lighthizer's point was made with data out of context and ignoring certain variables in world trade, therefore making it a tad misleading.
For Canada and Mexico, e-commerce is likely going to be a major topic of conversation, as the two countries want to add new legislation on cross-border business reflecting the boom in e-commerce that's taken place since the 1994 ratification of the agreement.
For the U.S., topics aside from the loss of manufacturing jobs likely will include the potential elimination of a NAFTA panel to settle disputes and preferential treatment for U.S. businesses that bid on government procurement jobs.
That last point in particular is interesting from a promotional products standpoint. Government agencies are, as any distributor knows, a vital segment of the industry's clientele.
Combined with a push for more domestic manufacturing jobs (fuzzy data aside), buying in on domestic manufacturing, especially for those companies that sell to government agencies on a regular basis, could yield big benefits.