The circus that has become this U.S. presidential election is finally nearing the finish line. Voting occurs tomorrow for everyone registered to cast their ballot, making the very real effects of either candidate’s election magnified more than ever. So many different aspects of our lives could be modified or changed completely over the course of the next four years based on decisions made by millions over the next 48 hours.
For retail, a very crucial topic will have vastly different outcomes depending on the results of that decision overall. That topic stands as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-country pact that revolves around almost 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. It has yet to be ratified by the nations involved, though it would stand to be the largest deal ever negotiated by the United States if that comes to pass.
Having taken seven years in negotiating to culminate towards this product, the difference between electing Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is massive with this in focus. While it is possible that Congress could pass it themselves, the indication has been that they do not have enough votes to do so while having President Obama sign it into law, leaving it in the hands of either president barring the former occurring.
Clinton has changed her view of the partnership since her time as the secretary of state in comparison to her current candidacy. Originally, she was pivotal in its creation and lobbied for it, referring to it at one point as the “gold standard” of trade deals. Now, she is still in favor of it, but not so in the way it’s currently written. That can be interpreted in many ways, the most important being that she doesn’t want to dispose of it completely if elected.
However, this wouldn’t come without potential pitfalls.
“It will take hard work. You are talking about 11 other countries — two of our three largest trading partners among them — Canada and Japan,” said a U.S. Trade Representative under President Clinton, Mickey Kantor. “You would have to draft and propose changes that are also attractive to the other countries and not try to run over them.”
The opposite can be said for Donald Trump. He has made it clear that the agreement would be scrapped if he’s elected. Once more, he has stated the position of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement all together while also imposing tariffs on imports from China and Mexico.
The candidate’s viewpoint of Mexican immigration aside, this could potentially set back trade agreement with both countries for years to come if handled improperly. China has become one of the biggest exporters for the United States already and the scenario could destroy opportunities for trade in the future as well as the present.
Unfortunately, both possibilities leave room for error in what could conceivably become the biggest milestone of the Obama presidency. Clinton’s changes may ultimately be agreeable to the other nations involved just as Trump’s potential overhaul, while somewhat extreme, can’t just be assumed to fail before it has had the opportunity to succeed. Either way, the Trans-Pacific Partnership may not be the same come the end of this political election, if it exists at all.