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How Election Results Shape Trade Policies: A Guide for Businesses

Trade Policy
Impact of Elections on Trade Policy

Trade Policy Shifts Post-Elections: Strategies for Businesses

Trade policy has always played a crucial role in shaping the global economy. Understanding the impact of elections on trade policy is essential for both businesses and voters. Being aware of potential shifts in trade policy helps businesses strategize effectively and voters make informed decisions.

As a former mayor of a border city in Arizona, Director of the Arizona Department of Commerce, Chief of Staff at US Customs and Border Protection, and now CEO of Intermestic Partners, I have witnessed firsthand how elections influence trade policy. Intermestic Partners, founded in 2011, specializes in cross-border trade and development, working with top national and international companies to navigate these changes.

Understanding Trade Policy

Trade policy encompasses measures like taxes, tariffs, trade agreements, and regulations. The 2016 US Presidential Election, for instance, saw significant shifts with Donald Trump’s victory, leading to the withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the renegotiation of NAFTA, and the initiation of trade wars. Conversely, the 2015 UK elections resulted in relatively stable trade policies.

Political ideologies significantly influence trade policy. Right-wing parties typically favor free trade, while left-wing parties lean towards protectionism.

Preparing for the Next Election Cycle

Predicting trade policy changes based on election outcomes can be challenging. However, analyzing party platforms and campaign promises provides insights into potential future directions. Businesses must anticipate both challenges and opportunities. Protectionist policies might impose import restrictions and higher tariffs but could boost domestic businesses. Liberal trade policies might increase competition but open access to new markets.

Mitigating Trade Policy Risks

Businesses can adopt several strategies to mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities:

  1. Diversify Supply Chains: Avoid relying on a single country or region for supplies. Diversification helps businesses adapt to new measures and tariffs.

  2. Engage in Policy Advocacy: Participate in the policy-making process through lobbying and advocacy. Large corporations like Goldman Sachs have successfully influenced trade policy agendas.

  3. Monitor Regulatory Changes: Stay updated on the political climate and potential policy shifts. Utilize RegTech (Regulatory Technology) services to monitor and comply with new trade policies.

Agility and adaptability are crucial. Businesses that quickly adapt to changing policies thrive in a dynamic landscape.


Election cycles significantly impact trade policies, influenced by the winning party's ideology, international relations, and internal lobbying. Businesses must stay informed, monitor political shifts, and have strategies in place to mitigate risks and leverage opportunities.

Intermestic Partners invites businesses to collaborate and navigate these changes successfully. Our expertise in cross-border trade and development, coupled with my extensive background, ensures that we provide valuable insights and strategies for businesses to thrive amid shifting trade policies.

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