President Donald Trump could get a much-needed political win if he can successfully renegotiate the NAFTA trade pact, but his window for doing so is very short.
Derek Miller, President and CEO of the World Trade Center Utah says NAFTA needs to be updated because it was first implemented more than 20 years ago. But, it's going to take some time for any change to be effective.
"Trade deals take a long time to negotiate, and they take even longer to work into the economy," says Miller. "What Trump has to do is dual track this, some quick wins in NAFTA to show that he renegotiated it. Then he has to go to some businesses and have them move more of their jobs from Mexico here. He did the same thing with Ford, right? He claimed that as a political win. There's nothing wrong with that. That's the way politics works."
But, Trump won't have much time to get anything done because two significant events happen in 2018. Congress faces their midterm elections, and Mexico will be electing a new president. Miller says that will inevitably make the renegotiation of NAFTA a political football.
"The Democrats are going to make it political. The opposing party in Mexico who wants to run against the current sitting president, they're going to make it political. It's another land mine out there."
Miller says, whatever happens with NAFTA, he's hoping that it won't upset disrupt Utah's international trade sector, which is running a massive trade surplus.
"When you think about it, Utah companies are doing exactly what Trump has said he wants the U.S. to do which is make more goods in the U.S. and get more customers outside of the U.S. That's exactly what Utah companies do to the tune of a $4 billion trade surplus to the state of Utah every single year. Utah companies are figuring out how to do it. We don't want to upset the apple cart."