Changes to Trade Agreements Could Shake Industrial Real Estate Markets

Since taking office, President Trump has pushed on a lot of fronts to renegotiate trade deals.

One of his first actions in January was signing an executive action to pull the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In late March signed two more executive orders involving trade. The first focused on tougher enforcement of existing trade treaties, potentially renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and strengthening the U.S. stance against currency manipulation.

The second executive order directed the Commerce Department and U.S. trade representative to produce a comprehensive report within 90 days to identify “every possible cause” of the U.S. trade deficit. Once completed, the report’s findings will serve as a guide for the Trump administration’s future trade policy.

This week the Trump administration gave Congress official notice that it plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

He’s even pushed on trade deals at the wrong times, for example mistakenly thinking German Chancellor Angela Merkel could negotiate on behalf of the European Union during their meeting in April.

What could all of this mean for commercial real estate?

A new Cushman & Wakefield report, “The Impact of Trade Policy on the Industrial Market, identifies possible fallouts from the Trump Administration’s escalating series of protectionist measures. It identifies dangers including higher prices/inflation, less free movement of labor, elimination of the benefits of specialization, decreased capital flows, slower net migration and weakening global growth.

In terms of NAFTA specifically, the Cushman & Wakefield  report noted that negotiations will most likely address changes in rules and trade provisions to address advancements in technologies involved in auto and auto part manufacturing and e-commerce. It would also affect cross-border data transfer and automation of customs procedures for…

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