Workforce Mobility at Risk under a NAFTA Renegotiation

The assessments of President Donald J. Trump’s first year in office have a recurring stormy theme, twisting and turning Washington D.C.’s status quo, metaphorically matching a year of once-in-a-generation natural disasters such as Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, wildfires and floods. These disruptive events were not limited to the U.S. domestic policy shorelines; indeed, global trade and mobility professionals experienced a year of hunkering down and riding out their own torrential storm – one with no relief in sight. The 2018 weather pattern has its first sights set squarely on the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA” or “Agreement”), a comprehensive trade agreement entered into between the United States, Canada and Mexico, on January 1, 1994.The “tear-it up” rhetoric from the 2016 Presidential campaign trail followed into the Trump Administration’s first year, there were occasional pauses for comments ranging from “tweaks”, “modernization” “renovations”, and “rebalancing” trade. Presently, the scope of results extends from finding a “win-win-win” solution for the three countries to finding a political win for the President in order to prevent the U.S.’s unilateral withdrawal from the Agreement. While the focus to date has been on the impacts of a NAFTA withdrawal on trade in goods, the most significant economic harm will be the disruption of the North American services and workforce. Background The NAFTA created a preferential trading relationship between the parties and includes 22 Chapters addressing...

Read More