Terminating NAFTA: What would the impact on Canada be?

• As NAFTA negotiations become increasingly fraught, the risk of a complete termination by US President Donald Trump is increasing
• The long-run impact of such a termination is likely to be limited, based on the MFN tariffs the US could apply
• The most likely impact would be in terms of the real economy, as the shock generated would hit consumption, spook investment and delay the Bank of Canada’s hiking cycle.
• To investigate the magnitude of this effect, we model the impact on real economic variables and interpret the impact on the Canadian dollar. Our results suggest that a 6% depreciation of the Canadian dollar against the US dollar could be justified.

International borrowing and the US dollar

• Some market participants are worried about the ever rising market value of US borrowing vis-à-vis the rest of the world – as measured by the Net International Investment Position
• Currency depreciation can function as an effective method of adjustment following an increase in external borrowing
• However, there are reasons to be cautious about this line of thinking, especially with respect to the US dollar. These include asset valuation effects, and the role of the US as a global facilitator of excess saving.