Last week in a tweet, President Donald Trump announced he would close the Mexican border due to maxed out detention areas if Mexico did not stop immigrants from coming to the United States. The announcement came as shock to many and brought concern over how this would affect the economy, the consumer, and agriculture.
Mexico must use its very strong immigration laws to stop the many thousands of people trying to get into the USA. Our detention areas are maxed out & we will take no more illegals. Next step is to close the Border! This will also help us with stopping the Drug flow from Mexico!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 30, 2019
According to an NBC report, if Trump were to close the Mexican border, which would also cut off trade, Americans would run out of avocados in three weeks. This comes at a bad time for avocado toast lovers since California is not quite ready to harvest their avocado crop. Avocados are just one example and would not be the only hit to the American consumer. The USDA reports that nearly 50 percent of our vegetables come from Mexico, with fruit imports at 40 percent.
Without the supply from Mexico coming in, prices at the grocery store would skyrocket. Some consumers said they would be willing to pay extra for U.S.-grown produce, but the reality is not everyone would be able to afford the necessary fruits and vegetables for a healthy lifestyle. Also, with our climate, we would have limited growing periods, producing less than the domestic demand.
As the old saying goes, “The door swings both ways.” If Trump were to close the Mexican border, the American farmer would lose that option for export as well, leaving excess product with no market.
The National Pork Producers Council asked the Trump administration to carefully consider the fallout from cutting off trade between the United States and Mexico. U.S. pork producers and other American farmers are already facing mounting financial losses from retaliatory tariffs by Mexico and China.
David Herring, president of the National Pork Producers Council and a pork producer in North Carolina said, “A cloud of uncertainty and restricted access to our most important export markets have strained U.S. pork producers and their families for more than a year. The value of our exports to Mexico and China are down 28 percent and 32 percent, respectively, this year. We are at the breaking point and cannot afford a total loss of the Mexican market, one that accounted for more than 20 percent of total U.S. pork exports last year.
“While we recognize the importance of border security, we respectfully ask the Trump administration to proceed cautiously and consider the implications of cutting off trade with a market that is so vital for rural America. We urge the administration to end current trade disputes and to focus on the expansion of export markets for U.S. agriculture, an economic sector that reduces the U.S. trade deficit by producing some of America’s most competitive export products.”
The National Corn Growers Association also chimed in and emphasized the importance of Mexico trade saying, “Withdrawing from the existing NAFTA agreement, closing the U.S.-Mexico border, or implementing other policies that jeopardize the future of this important economic partnership, would be catastrophic for farmers already struggling amid declining profits and devastating natural disasters. Even the threat of such actions creates uncertainty for farmers. The loss of the North American market would amount to a $9.4 billion annual drop in agricultural exports and a $13 billion hit to the farm sector GDP. Simply put, we cannot afford to lose this market.”