It is that time of the year when the TradeMoves team reflects on what we are thankful for in terms of cross-border trade opportunities for US exporters, and prospects for the next year. 2018 has been a busy year for international trade, and not without much uncertainty. From the NAFTA renegotiation, to several US trade actions against foreign imports and subsequent countermeasures imposed by trading partners, to threats of a potential withdrawal from the WTO, companies have faced growing uncertainties due to trade policy decisions in the United States. For small businesses, these changes can be an enormous burden to their operations requiring more time dedicated to their supply chains and overseas customers.
Below are a number of areas we have identified as positive outcomes in a difficult year.
On 30 September 2018, Canada, Mexico, and the US announced that they had reached an agreement on a modernized NAFTA just hours before a self-imposed 1 October deadline. The new agreement has been renamed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), otherwise known as NAFTA 2.0. While commentators have joked that the name is the only thing to have changed, there are several substantial alterations and additions, along with some notable omissions, that may impact the trade operations of US small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) should the agreement pass and enter into force.
Some may think that “fair trade” is about ensuring balanced national trade flows – or a zero trade deficit – similar to what President Trump is pushing for in the United States. However, “fair trade” is a global movement to develop transparent supply chains that support equity in trade for socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable development. Backed by consumer support across the world, the growing demand for fair trade has promoted sustainable economic development by facilitating trade between developing economies and advanced economies through both private-sector and public-sector initiatives.