Saturday, April 20, 2024

Trump ‘shooting himself in the foot’ with border threats: business leader

United States President Donald Trump is “shooting himself in the foot” by threatening to close the border with Mexico, according to the president of the Business Coordinating Council (CCE).

Carlos Salazar Lomelín said the only thing Trump achieves by making such threats is to slow down cross-border trade, which generates economic losses for both Mexico and the United States.

The U.S. president had threatened to close the border “or large sections of the border” this week if Mexico didn’t immediately stop all illegal immigration into the United States through its southern border.

However, Trump pulled back on the threat Thursday, stating that he was giving Mexico “a one-year warning” to stop drug and migration flows. If the government doesn’t comply within that period, tariffs will be imposed on Mexican auto imports and the border will be closed.

Cars and trucks have faced long wait times at several border crossings this week as a result of a decision to redeploy border officials to deal with a large influx of migrants as well as more exhaustive vehicle inspections.

Trump’s words are also a factor in the delays, Salazar contended.

He said it was “logical” that whenever Trump makes a threat, the process to cross the border slows down, causing trucks to stack up and making it impossible for them to make timely deliveries.

“He doesn’t realize that he’s shooting himself in the foot,” Salazar said, explaining that it’s not just Mexican companies who are affected and complain about the situation but those in the United States as well.

“You don’t [just] affect Mexico, you affect both countries . . .” he said.

Echoing Economy Secretary Graciela Márquez’s words, the business leader added that trade and migration are separate issues and one shouldn’t be allowed to affect the other.

Meanwhile, the Business Roundtable – an association of chief executive officers of United States companies – has written to United States officials to express its concern about delays at the border and the possibility of a future closure.

“Shutting down the U.S-Mexico border or slowing cross-border trade would severely damage the operations of American businesses and hurt American workers. Closing the border would back up thousands of trucks, impact billions of dollars of goods each day, cripple supply chains and stall U.S. manufacturing and business activity,” the letter said.

“Even the threat of a border closure injects significant uncertainty for American companies who depend on legal workers who cross the border each day to operate their businesses. Instead, we urge the administration to keep U.S. land ports of entry open to legal commerce to support U.S. economic growth and competitiveness.”

The current situation at the border will be a key issue at a summit in Mérida, Yucatán, next Friday at which business leaders from Mexico and the United States will meet.

President López Obrador and Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard are also expected to attend the United States-Mexico CEO dialogue, a biannual event organized by the CCE and the U.S Chamber of Commerce.

Discussion of the pending ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, and the provisions in the new trade accord, will also be on the agenda.

The United States is Mexico’s largest trading partner, while Mexico ranks third for the U.S. behind China and Canada.

Mexico sent exports worth more than US $295 billion across the northern border by land last year, according to the United States Department of Transport.

Source: Milenio (sp), El Universal (sp) 

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