Trump v Biden – the rematch

Apr 08 | 2024

But how will a result either way affect the moving and relocation industry? Steve Jordan asks what people think.

Trump v BidenI am writing this article on Wednesday 6th March 2024 which is, as you might remember, the day after Super Tuesday when 16 US States and one US territory went to the polls to choose their presidential candidate.  Although there’s still a way to go before the candidates can be formally announced, anything short of a major health event for one of the candidates will see Messrs Biden and Trump in a rematch of 2020.

Some will be rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect, others gently shaking their heads and wondering quite how it’s come to this.  What’s important now is to have a clean contest, the result of which everyone can accept, and to do our best with whatever hand we are dealt. 

It’s always difficult to know quite what to expect from any government, in any country.  Relying on manifesto promises can be a dangerous game, for even if people propose them with honourable intentions, circumstances can so easily get in the way. In the US, for example, failure to secure both houses can render an administration impotent and incapable of achieving much of its plans, despite its best intentions.

But not knowing what will happen for sure is not a good reason not to speculate.  Indeed good business practice should require business leaders to consider the likely outcomes of major events, such as a US election, ahead of time if possible.  So, that’s what this article is intended to do.  Of course it will be wrong, just like any prediction, but there might just be enough in it to help chart a course through the next four years or, at least, identify where the built-in flexibilities need to be.

The international relocation industry is deeply influenced by the policies and priorities of national governments. The outcome of US presidential elections, in particular, can significantly impact this industry due to the United States' economic and geopolitical prominence. The differences in approach to trade, immigration and international relations from the two candidates will, inevitably, lead to different threats and opportunities.

A Biden presidency would likely bring several changes that could impact the international relocation industry. Firstly, Biden has expressed a commitment to rejoining international agreements and alliances, such as the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization. This reengagement with the global community could lead to increased confidence and stability in international markets, fostering greater cross-border movement of individuals and businesses. Additionally, Biden has signalled a more welcoming approach to immigration, advocating for reforms to streamline visa processes and provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. This stance could stimulate demand for relocation services as individuals seek opportunities in the United States.

Furthermore, Biden's emphasis on diplomacy and multilateralism may result in a more predictable foreign policy environment, reducing uncertainty for companies and expatriates operating across borders. Enhanced diplomatic relations could also facilitate trade agreements that promote economic growth and cross-border investment, indirectly bolstering demand for relocation services as businesses expand their global footprint.

Conversely, a Trump re-election would likely yield a different set of outcomes. Trump's ‘America First’ agenda is likely to reveal protectionist trade policies and stringent immigration restrictions, which could have mixed implications for the industry. On one hand, Trump's emphasis on domestic manufacturing and job creation may incentivise companies to reshore operations, potentially reducing the need for international relocation services in certain sectors. Additionally, his administration's tightening of visa regulations and increased scrutiny of immigration could hinder the mobility of skilled workers and professionals, constraining the pool of potential expatriates and impacting demand for relocation assistance.

However, Trump's confrontational approach to trade negotiations and geopolitical affairs may also create opportunities for certain segments of the international relocation industry. The renegotiation of trade deals and imposition of tariffs have prompted companies to reassess their supply chains and explore new markets, driving demand for consulting services related to market entry and strategic relocation. Moreover, Trump's focus on deregulation and tax cuts has been credited with stimulating economic growth and incentivising corporate investment, potentially spurring expansion initiatives that require relocation support.

I asked some people in the industry for their thoughts on the topic ...

Click here to read the full story in The Mover magazine.

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