Border Maneuvers Slowing Movement of Food: Industry
The retail food industry is concerned about a reallocation of human resources at the United States-Mexico border that will create “a slowdown in processing of trade” along the U.S./Mexico border, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The agency has been forced to close some processing lanes in El Paso and Laredo, Texas; Tucson, Ariz.; and San Diego. Additionally, officials at the Nogales, Ariz., port have stopped processing commercial traffic on Sundays. Last week, Commissioner Kevin McAleenan announced that 750 CBP officers from ports of entry along the southern border would be reassigned to help process migrant crossings.
The Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association has urged the Trump Administration to “reconsider these steps that would profoundly interrupt our ability to bring fresh, healthy produce to all Americans. If these actions are implemented, the Administration will cause millions in economic losses while increasing costs to consumers across North America.”
As threats to close the border have continued, The Washington-based National Retail Federation (NRF) sent a letter to the Trump administration on April 4 outlining how a complete closure would effect the economy.
“Closing the border for any length of time would result in significant supply chain disruptions for U.S. retailers,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “These disruptions would reverberate throughout the supply chain, impacting everyone from truckers to warehouse workers whose jobs depend on the two-way trade with Mexico. The end result would be job losses, factory shutdowns, increased consumer costs and reduced product availability across the country. … Resorting to a border closure would merely be a self-inflicted wound to the American economy.”
U.S. trade with Mexico exceeds $1.7 billion each day. American retailers and consumers rely on Mexico as a source of fruits and vegetables, electronics, appliances, auto parts, apparel, and more.
The San Diego Association of Governments and California Department of Transportation have indicated that even an extra 15 minutes of wait time could generate as much as $1 billion in lost productivity and 134,000 lost in jobs annually. Some truckers are reporting delays of up to 12 hours.