Texas Gov. Abbott’s border inspections prompt Mexico to move lucrative trade link to New Mexico

Texas border crossing reopened

Texas border crossing reopened Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) 10-day-long “enhanced” safety inspections of commercial trucks entering the state from Mexico may have cost Texas $4.2 billion in economic damage, as estimated by Waco-based Perryman Group, but it’s been great for business in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, a border crossing just across state lines from El Paso.

Trucks were re-routed through Santa Teresa when Abbott’s inspections snarled commercial traffic at Texas border crossings, and now Mexico has decided to move a long-planned trade railway connection worth billions of dollars from Texas to the New Mexico crossing, The Dallas Morning News reported Sunday. “We’re now not going to use Texas,” Mexican Economy Minister Tatiana Clouthier said. “We can’t leave all the eggs in one basket and be hostages to someone who wants to use trade as a political tool.”

Clouthier made her announcement in Mexico City on Thursday, a day before Abbott said he will be transferring another $500 million from other Texas agencies to finance his broader state border initiative, Operation Lone Star, which is already costing Texans more than $2 billion a year.

Jerry Pacheco, president of the Santa Teresa’s Border Industrial Association, told the Morning News that Mexico has plenty of time to change its mind about the lucrative T-MEC Corridor trade link, but “the very fact that we’re being discussed in the early stages is a positive thing.” He added that “since Gov. Abbott’s truck inspections went away, our traffic numbers remain higher than normal in terms of northbound cargo shipments, which leads me to believe that what I thought would be a temporary fix is actually going to stick in the long term.”

“We also absolutely play politics with the border,” Pacheco said, “but we play to bring more trade from Mexico through our New Mexico ports of entry, not to impede trade.”

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