Trade and Tariffs and Transport, Oh My!
With international trade and domestic policy shifting under the current White House Administration, it’s important to consider how the fluctuating political environment might impact the future of trade as we know it. Logistics, trade, and transport could be facing shifts based on some of the most recent political happenings, including NAFTA negotiations and President Trump’s new infrastructure plans. Here’s a look at some of the most pressing political issues impacting trade.
NAFTA Negotiations in Full Swing
In July of 2017, the Administration released details for the planned negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). President Trump planned to seek an agreement that would reduce the country’s trade deficit and improve market access in Canada and Mexico. Fast-forward one year, and several rounds of negotiations have yet to reach a compromise.
Trade representatives have managed to finalize about six chapters in the 30-chapter trade deal in the last year, including those dealing with customs and border facilitation, competition, and small-to-medium enterprises. The major chapters dealing with settlement disputes and market-access rules, however, are still under negotiation.
The climate surrounding the NAFTA negotiations is strained, with representatives from around the world taking offense at the Trump Administration’s arguments. For example, the Canadian Prime Minister said that President Trump’s assertion that the tariff was necessary for national security purposes was an “affront,” since Canada has been an ally of the U.S. in past armed conflicts. Until NAFTA negotiations finish, there is no telling what future tariffs on trade will look like.
President Trump’s Big Plans for the Future
Back in February, President Trump released his infrastructure plan divulging details of what the White House plans to do in a 53-page document. In essence, President Trump wants to leverage state and local taxes and private investments to turn $200 billion of the government’s money into $1.5 trillion to pay for a brand-new country infrastructure. What does this mean? Clues from the document show that the money would go toward the following
- $100 billion as incentives for local government agencies
- $50 billion for rural block grants
- $20 billion toward projects of national significance
- The remainder to support programs such as the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act
Since the announcement, Congress has announced that the future of the plan remains uncertain, with no related bills set to come out this year. Should the President’s infrastructure come into effect in the future, it could impact trade by changing the economy. His proposed tariffs on the steel and aluminum industry show that he will continue to be tough on trade, driving up the cost of construction materials and aiming to change the economic climate as we know it.
How to Make Your Voice Heard
President Trump’s Administration has made many changes that have sparked controversy – several of which might impact the trade and logistics industry. His steel and aluminum tariffs, for example, have led Mexico to impose its own tariffs on goods. If you wish to make your voice heard in the local and national political climate, write letters and make phone calls to your local representatives.