NRF warns of negative impact of Mexican border closure on US economy
In a letter sent to Trump administration officials on Thursday, the National Retail Foundation (NRF) outlined a series of negative economic repercussions that it believes would result from the closure of the US-Mexico border threatened by the president on Friday, March 29.
Highlighting that US trade with Mexico exceeds $1.7 billion every day, NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay pointed out that American retailers rely on Mexico to supply a wide range of merchandise, from apparel to electronics and appliances, as well as fruits and vegetables.
“Closing the border for any length of time would result in significant supply chain disruptions for U.S. retailers,” he said. “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.”
In particular, Shay drew attention to the problems that a closure would cause in border communities in both Mexico and the US. According to the NRF CEO, businesses in the region would suffer from workforce disruption and falling sales as both employees and customers would be unable to make the kind of daily legal border crossings that are currently possible.
“We do not believe any type of border closure would address the ongoing immigration issues facing both Mexico and the US,” Shay concluded. “Congress and the administration, as well as the US and Mexico, must continue to work together to resolve this challenging issue. Resorting to a border closure would merely be a self-inflicted wound to the American economy.”
The NRF’s letter was a response to US President Donald Trump’s threats to close all or part of the border with Mexico within a week if the country failed to control illegal immigration, a measure that would, according to the president, entail the suspension of all trade between the two countries.
“If they don’t stop them, we’re closing the border. We’ll close it. And we’ll keep it closed for a long time. I’m not playing games. Mexico has to stop it,” Trump said at an event in Florida on Friday, before reiterating the statement on Twitter.
Following vehement criticism from a number of bodies, advisers and commentators, however, Trump has now backtracked on his threat, telling reporters on Thursday that he would instead be issuing a one-year warning to Mexico.
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