Of course, the truth is, Canada has been in U.S. crosshairs over softwood lumber and dairy imports for decades. But still, Canada? In fact, under Trump we’re approaching Round 8 in NAFTA negotiations meant to resolve that deficit, with no clear end in sight for a deal that governs more than $1tr in trade transactions.
In March, Trump made yet another huge trade-splash when he ordered higher tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, a move that provoked China and Europe to respond in-kind. Trump not only successfully provoked a war of words, but set into motion an international chess game where anticipating the next move has become great theater.
If you’re a retailer, however, Trump’s penchant for gamesmanship has been anything but entertaining. It has created an uncertainty that doesn’t play well with them — not at all. And while blaming the current administration for their predicament is easy, the truth is that retail industry supply chain reliability was iffy, at best, even before Donald Trump started playing trade war games.
Supply chains are littered with inflection points where any unplanned event can have cascading effects: natural disasters, labor disputes, regulatory surprises and variability in resource prices (e.g. an increase in the cost of aluminum imports) can change the price of a landed good literally overnight.
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