That decision would result in lost wages and revenues, one group said
By Diego Flammini
A decision to close America’s border to Mexico could come at the expense of U.S. farmers.
President Trump is considering closing or restricting access at the southern border as early as Friday if Mexico can’t curb the number of people trying to cross into the U.S. Even if that decision comes at the expense of the U.S. economy.
During a meeting Tuesday with Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the president acknowledged closing the Mexican border would “have a negative impact on the economy.
“Security is more important to me than trade,” he said.
Agriculture would be among the industries hit hardest by a closed Mexican border.
Mexico imported US$19-billion worth of ag goods in 2018, the USDA says. That puts Mexico as the second-largest customer for U.S. ag products after Canada.
Several commodities would be affected by a closed border, said Veronica Nigh, an economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation.
“Corn and soybeans generally travel via rail while wheat and sorghum usually travel by boat,” she told Farms.com. “But other than that, almost everything else crosses the border by truck. About 70 percent of total trade between Mexico and the U.S. happens via truck.
“A border shutdown would be pretty devastating pretty quickly.”
White House officials are working to find solutions that would limit the affect on trade at the border. One of the options includes allowing trucks carrying freight to cross the border even during a closure, CNBC reported.
Permitting some trucks to cross the border could work, but it may also cause significant delays, Nigh said.
“It would be helpful, but I could only imagine how you’re deciding which trucks are in and which are out,” she said. “You’d be looking at longer wait times at the border as part of an expression process. Just because someone pulls up in an 18-wheeler wouldn’t automatically mean they’re there for commerce purposes.”
Farm groups are urging the president to reconsider closing the Mexican border.
Proceeding with a border closure would cause significant harm to the industry, the United Fresh Produce Association says.
“We urge the Administration to reconsider these steps that would profoundly interrupt our ability to bring fresh, healthy produce to all Americans,” the organization said in a statement Monday.
“Disruptions of weeks, days or even hours cut supply chains meaning lost wages and lost revenues.”
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