Canadian Small Businesses Impacted by Talk of New NAFTA

This article was originally published on February 24, 2017 in Global Trade Magazine

By Stephan Galarneau, vice-president of inside sales, North America, Livingston International

For many of Canada’s small businesses, the recent meeting between US President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was a nail biter. For months, speculation about the fate of the North American Trade Agreement had been circulating out of Washington, albeit with a much stronger emphasis on neutralizing the trade imbalance between the US and Mexico. The meeting was supposed to offer greater insight on what Canada might expect from a new NAFTA. And according to President Trump we can expect “tweaks.”

That leaves room for plenty more speculation. What’s certain, however, is that any change to NAFTA will have an impact on Canada’s small businesses—an impact that will be as broad and varied as the businesses themselves.

Positive or negative impact will generally be determined by geography and industry. New trade arrangements between Canada, the US, and Mexico could potentially harm manufacturing SMEs in Canada and Mexico while benefitting those in the US, but could affect America’s independent clothing retailers with as much adversity as Mexico’s textile manufacturers.
For many US employees of small and medium-sized businesses that rely on high-volume trade with Mexico, the death of NAFTA could potentially vanquish their jobs as some six million American jobs are dependent on trade with their southern neighbor.