I read an article recently about the voting attitudes of American printing executives. According to a study completed in August by NAPCO Media Research (which is actually a content creation company), Donald Trump is winning among them. The survey polled 810 execs and showed that 54% support Trump, 32% support Clinton and 14% were undecided. But 35% who supported him did so because they didn’t like the alternative. That being said, the survey was taken before the first debate, so some minds may have been swayed. Also, participants were from NAPCO’s main target audience of older white males, who are, not surprisingly, Trump supporters. Now, given the fact that there are roughly 35,000 printers in the U.S., this is by no means a large sample – and I have no idea which regions of the country were polled. What it does show is that the USA is even more divided than ever.
But what implications might this have on the printing industry in Canada? The key factor, of course, is NAFTA – the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump has called it the worst deal ever. Yet the U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that U.S. exports to Canada currently support an estimated 1.7 million American jobs. These also pay 13%-16% more than other U.S. jobs. Now, you can argue true or false (left-wing conspiracy or right-wing gibberish) until the cows come home. But here’s the bottom line: If Clinton or Trump wins and decides to re-negotiate or radically change NAFTA as it now exists, you can expect trouble, depending on what might be changed.
For example, let’s say your Canadian company exports equipment, printing or consumables to clients in the U.S. If tariffs are imposed on these items by either candidate, this could effectively negate any price advantage that your American clients get due to our lower Canadian dollar, which currently stands at 76¢ U.S.
Look, I’m no economist. And no one knows how this unprecedented election cycle will play out. We also can’t anticipate any possible retaliatory actions from our own federal government. What I do know is that the American market is 10 times the size of Canada – a vital market for many – and thousands of printing companies here export to the U.S. So I guess we’ll hold our breath while Americans go to the polls November 8 and cast their ballot in one of the most controversial elections in recent history. My take? The absolute last thing this industry needs is a trade war.
Until next time, always remember that we’re here to help you.