Administration Makes Changes to NAFTA as Trade Policies Continue to Evolve

Published Thursday, September 6, 2018

President Donald Trump has made resolving perceived trade inequities a priority of his administration. Most recently, the United States and Mexico agreed to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The next step on NAFTA is to try to reach agreement with Canada on changes. The administration also continues to spar with China and faces trade decisions related to the United Kingdom’s pending exit from the European Union. Below is a timeline of some trade-related actions the President has taken in 2018 as well as events expected in the coming months. OBI staff will continue to monitor changes the Administration makes to U.S. trade policy and the potential impact on your businesses.

Timeline:

March 22, 2018: President Trump signs a memorandum directing the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to consider whether to impose tariffs on imports from China.

May 29, 2018: President Trump states his Administration’s intention to impose tariffs on $50 billion in imports from China.

June 18, 2018: President Trump states his Administration’s intention to impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion in imports from China.

July 6, 2018: 25 percent tariff on $34 billion in imports from China goes into effect.

August 23, 2018: 25 percent tariff on an additional $16 billion in imports from China goes into effect, bringing the total amount of imports subject to tariffs to $50 billion.

August 20-27, 2018: USTR holds hearings on the Administration’s proposal to implement a 25 percent tariff on an additional $200 billion in imports from China.

August 27, 2018: The U.S. and Mexico reach agreement on an updated NAFTA.

September 14-15, 2018: The G20 trade ministers meet with increased pressure for the U.S. and China to resolve their trade differences to minimize the impacts on the rest of the global economy.

September 24, 2018: 10 percent tariff on an additional $200 billion in imports from China goes into effect, bringing the total amount of imports subject to tariffs to $250 billion.

End of October/Beginning of November 2018: This is the earliest time that an updated NAFTA agreement could be signed by President Trump.

January 1, 2019: The 10 percent tariff imposed on an additional $200 billion in imports from China on September 24 will be increased to 25 percent.

March 29, 2019: The United Kingdom officially leaves the European Union. This would be the earliest date the U.S. could reach a trade agreement with the U.K. While they are not required to, the Europeans may also wait until at least this date to sign off on any trade agreement with the U.S.