TEXAS — Mexican officials say they intend to re-route a long-planned trade railway from Texas, and instead go through New Mexico. They’re blaming Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent move to increase inspections on the border.
The planned rail and port expansion, known as the T-MEC corridor, would connect Mexico to Canada. Mexican officials said in a news conference they did not want to quote “be hostages” to someone who uses trade as a political tool.
Abbott’s extra vehicle inspections at the border were widely blamed for blocking traffic and harming trade. The governor said the move was necessary to crack down on human and drug smugglers. He lifted those last month after reaching security agreements with Mexican leaders.
It’s estimated it cost the state billions in lost trade money.
The governor’s office responded to a request for comment.
Daniel Covarrubias, the director of Texas A&M International University’s Texas Center for Economic and Enterprise Development, said that Texas is still the biggest player when it comes to U.S.-Mexico trade, regardless of how leaders feel about the governor’s policies.
“Texas is a powerhouse when it comes to trade with Mexico,” he said during an interview on Capital Tonight. “Forty-percent of trade between the U.S. and Mexico passes through Port Laredo.”
Covarrubias says it ultimately may not be up to the Mexican government, since private investors fund the ambitious project.
“It’s a 15 to 20-year program,” said Covarrubias. “It’s private groups that will decide where that rail crossing will or won’t be.”