It’s a long wait for truckers trying to get goods across the border between the United States and Mexico.
Wait times soared after the U.S. President threatened a border shutdown.
He’s since backed off that threat, but as CGTN’s Alasdair Baverstock shows us, the delays at the crossing points linger.
Long lines at the world’s busiest border crossing, where Tijuana meets the state of California.
This part of the border normally sees around three-thousand commercial trucks cross from Mexico into the U.S. every day. But since late March, local officials say they’re surprised if half that number make it through.
“This has been going on for two weeks, and we’re a full day behind when it comes to deliveries, and in addition to the slow progress, it’s affecting the quality of the deliveries. A lot of fruit crosses the border, and 2 out of every 10 trailers are being sent back, because the fruit spoils in the long wait times at the border,” said Salvador Diaz of Mesa de Otay Industrial Association.
The slowdown is the result of President Trump’s threat to close the southern border – citing Mexico’s large trade surplus, illegal immigration and inability to control rates of drug trafficking.
President Trump cites Mexico’s $100 billion surplus in the ‘Trump threatens to close southern border to all trade video’ in this piece.
“If the drugs don’t stop, Mexico can stop them if they want, we’re going to tariff the cars, the cars are very big, and if that doesn’t work we’re going to close the border,” said Donald Trump the President of the United States.
While Trump backed down on his border-closure threat, the Department of Homeland Security has reassigned hundreds of Customs and Border Protection Agents, pulled from their posts at the border checkpoints and redeployed to border patrol work.
It’s caused a slow-down along the length of the three-thousand -kilometer border, putting in jeopardy hundreds of billions of dollars of international trade.
“We must remember that 80% of the factories here in Tijuana belong to companies based in the U.S., so it’s affecting the United States just as much as Mexico. On the U.S. side, it’s leading to shortages of essential supplies, while in Mexico having a surplus of inventory will cut back new production output and labor, which is what we supply,” said Salvador Diaz of Mesa de Otay Industrial Association.
Mexico’s foreign minister called Trump’s threat to block the border a “bad idea” which be costly to both countries.
“We’re a region that is inseparable from the United States. So it is a problem we are facing, it is a problem, but we have the tools at hand to improve it, seeking dialogue with our U.S. counterparts,” said Bernabe Esquer the Tijuana Economic Development Secretary.