Renaming Nafta Just Might Work



Tyler Cowen | Bloomberg

The Trump administration’s renegotiation of Nafta is decidedly underwhelming, the product of a toxic process that made only a modest modification of the original deal. The administration’s renaming of Nafta, however — it will henceforth be known as the USMCA, for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement — could prove to be a stroke of political and marketing genius. Names really matter, and politicians should give as much thought to them as corporations do. Amazon, Google and Apple, for instance, have been established as iconic names, which probably helps those companies market their services and maintain market share. So what is wrong with Nafta? It’s such a nice, easy-to-pronounce acronym, reminiscent of the word “nifty.” But some of my fellow U.S. citizens might notice that the North American Free Trade Agreement does not include the name of the largest nation party to it. In fact, they might think the reference to “North American” makes it sound as if U.S. is being swallowed up by some larger entity. With USMCA, by contrast, it is quite clear which country comes first. Read more here