As if the coronavirus shutdown wasn't enough of a seismic shock for U.S. companies, they'll face another earthquake in just over a month, when the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement takes effect.
The good news about the replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement is that it finally gives us certainty around trade in the region after more than three years spent hanging on the next round of talks or tweet. It will bring investment back and provide needed stability.
The bad news is that companies' level of awareness about the deal and their preparedness for its implementation July 1 is worryingly low. A surprising number of companies are thinking about the deal as "NAFTA 2.0," little more than a spruced-up version of the old agreement.
But it should be clear by now that USMCA is a very different, more demanding beast.
Among 113 corporate respondents to a Plante Moran survey in late April, 49 percent said they had a limited understanding of USMCA and believed there was more they didn't know about it than what they did.
In addition, 19 percent thought the new deal was "just NAFTA 2.0 with some minor changes," while not a single respondent said they knew all the relevant provisions and had taken steps to address them.
If this is any guide, many companies are in for a rude awakening after July 1.