There have been lots of talks (threats?) from President Donald Trump to tear up NAFTA in his zeal to put “America First”. This has resulted in lots of nervous moments for the Canadian government and citizens.
After all, it will affect the economy and in turn, their livelihood.
As of yesterday ( July 17, 2017), President Trump finally released the NAFTA Objectives 2017. ( see https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/files/Press/Releases/NAFTAObjectives.pdf )
There was immediately a wave of release, as the ‘demands’ seems more palatable then before the official documents was published. Of course, there will be some hard bargains but not the ‘winner takes all’ that was fearfully envisioned.
There will nevertheless be lots of coverage in the press in the upcoming weeks and months as negotiation progress.
In this blog post, I will like to focus more on the business impact on retailers in Canada.
There’s already some quarters putting forth scenarios where ‘Canadians should cheer”. ( see http://globalnews.ca/news/3605878/trump-asked-canada-to-drop-duties-on-internet-imports-under-nafta-canadians-should-cheer-say-experts/
This is taken from the context of USA putting forth the position fro Canada to raise the value of goods that Canadians can buy online without paying import duties and taxes to US $800 (C$1,011) as against the current C$20.
It has been said that Canada has the strictest allowance according to world standard, even if the raise is not exactly at C$1,011, but to say, C$200, it represents a 10 times increase from the base level of C$20!
Sure, if you are a Canadian consumer, you can now shop more at US online stores. There’s tons of deals down south and it will mean open shopping season for Canadian online shoppers. Even those who are not accustomed to online shopping will quickly catch on once they see the savings enjoyed through the online shopping adventure.
So, how about retailers operating in Canada?
That’s going to be much tougher scenario.
As our market size in general is smaller and the country physically not smaller than USA, the population density is not there as compared to the States. Now, with the US retailers encroaching into the home turf, many retailers have reason to be wary of what comes before them. Many will have to brace for the onslaught of customers flocking online to the make purchase from US stores which previously would not be a viable option.
The trend points to increased acceptance of online shopping and the use of other related enabling technology partners to bring goods and services to customers.
Hence, Canadian retailers have better start developing plans to counter this onslaught of US retailers taking over market share which previously were not accessible to them. For traditional businesses and especially off-line ones, it will auger well for them to find way to modernize and implement e-commerce where feasible. Who knows, they may find a niche and flourish.
Let’s see Canadian businesses meet these challenges head on and succeed.