- A coalition of 18 freight, agricultural and manufacturing associations sent a letter to White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney Thursday to "express serious concerns with any new burdens that would slowdown or delay the movement of commercial goods across the U.S.-Mexico border."
- The letter warns restricting the flow of goods at the U.S. Mexico border will "inflict significant harm to our nation’s economy and the millions of American jobs that depend on cross-border trade."
- Trump tweeted Saturday that 750 border agents were being reassigned to process migrants. Last week, wait times at the border were up to five hours at some crossings, virtually stopping trade for some border businesses.
We have redeployed 750 agents at the Southern Border’s specific Ports of Entry in order to help with the large scale surge of illegal migrants trying to make their way into the United States. This will cause traffic & commercial delays until such time as Mexico is able to use....— Donal J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2019
President Trump backed off his threats to completely close the U.S. border with Mexico, but the reassignment of hundreds of border agents has already slowed business in border shops and threatens to reverberate to the rest of the country in the coming days and weeks.
The letter offers the example of the U.S. auto industry, which several economists have concluded would shut down in one week if the border were to close completely. Reuters reported some automakers and medical equipment manufacturers are considering air freight to avoid the miles-long lines at the border.
"Unfortunately, any disruption to the flow of commerce resulting from the full or partial closure of our border would have a cascading effect – harming U.S. consumers, threatening American jobs and investment, and curtailing the economic progress that the Administration has worked to reignite," said the letter.
More than 42% of rail freight is directly related to international trade, according to the letter, and slowing down the border movement also threatens the tens of thousands of rail and trucking jobs that rely on free cross-border movement of freight.
The organizations signed to the letter include:
- Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
- American Association of Exporters and Importers
- American Automotive Policy Council
- American International Automobile Dealers Association
- American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association
- American Trucking Associations
- Association of American Railroads
- Association of Global Automakers
- Auto Care Association
- Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association
- National Grain and Feed Association
- North American Export Grain Association
- Pet Food Institute
- Railway Supply Institute
- Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates
- Specialty Equipment Market Association
- The Fertilizer Institute
- Truck & Engine Manufacturers Association