President Trump has decided to not close the southern border
By Diego Flammini
The American ag industry is happy President Trump has changed his tune about a potential border closure.
After threatening to close the southern border if Mexico can’t stop the flow of illegal immigrants to the U.S., President Trump has instead warned that he may impose tariffs of up to 25 percent on vehicles imported from Mexico.
“Mexico understands that we’re going to close the border or I’m going to tariff the cars. I’ll do one or the other, and probably settle for the tariffs,” Trump said, The Associated Press reported.
Mexico represents a massive trading market for the U.S.
The two countries trade about US$1.7 billion of products daily, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says. From an ag perspective, Mexico imported US$19-billion worth of farm products last year.
Keeping the border open is crucial to the American ag industry.
“Our farm and ranch families continue to face an economic storm that would have become even more severe had the border been closed,” Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said in a statement. “When it comes to trade, Mexico is an essential partner and we will continue to push for congressional approval of the USMCA trade agreement.”
The USDA is hoping the president stays true to his word on keeping the border open.
Commodity prices are low and there’s uncertainty in the industry. Suspending access to a market like Mexico would hurt farmers, said Sonny Perdue, the U.S. agriculture secretary.
“The farmers have been very resilient and very loyal to the long game that the president has called us to, but there is economic duress and stress out there,” he said while visiting Purdue University. “No doubt about it.”