This blog is by David Zapata, Vice President of International Affairs & Executive Director of the Mexico Trade & Investment Council for TAB. There is more than one reason to celebrate this Friday with today’s signing of the fourth Border Security Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). In the span of roughly 72 hours, Governor Greg Abbott secured four agreements with neighboring states in Mexico to strengthen public safety and improve flow of traffic across our shared Texas-Mexico border. The MOUs between Texas and Nuevo Leon, Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Tamaulipas underline the strength of the Texas-Mexico relationship, which is crucial to the Texas economy. The commercial flow of goods that crosses from Mexico to the U.S> through Texas ports is estimated to be around $442 billion, and the trade relationship between Texas and Mexico is estimated at around $231 billion. On April 6, Governor Greg Abbott announced a series of actions to increase security along the Texas-Mexico border, as a response to President Biden’s decision to end Title 42 protocols. Governor Abbott directed DPS to conduct enhanced safety inspections of vehicles crossing international ports of entry into Texas due to concerns that ending Title 42 could lead to an increase in cartel-facilitated smuggling.
These inspections affected ports of entry between Texas and its four border states with Mexico, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas, which resulted in severe delays to border crossing wait times.
As the Texas Association of Business (TAB), we recognize the impact these delays have had on trade and commerce, hitting our friends in several industries, including agriculture, produce, manufacturing, and trucking. We believe it is important to underline that while our Association is charged to amplify the voice of the business community – advocating on their behalf – there are also legitimate security and congestion concerns when it comes to the eventual lifting of Title 42 protocols.
With respect to the nuance of the issue, TAB has been communicating with both public and private sector leaders collaborating with key stakeholders on solutions for the border issues at hand. We’ve had good communication with Governor Abbott’s team and his office, as well as the Secretary of State’s office. All stakeholders were receptive of hearing the concerns of the business community. (Pictured: Texas Secretary of State, John Scott; Ma. Eugenia Campos; TAB's VP of International Affairs, David Zapata)
Starting on Wednesday, April 13, and finishing on Friday, April 15, Governor Abbott hosted meetings with the Governors of Texas’ four border states with Mexico. Governor Abbott met individually with Samuel Garcia, Governor of Nuevo Leon, with Ma. Eugenia Campos, Governor of Chihuahua, Miguel Riquelme, Governor of Coahuila, and Francisco Garcia Cabeza de Vaca, Governor of Tamaulipas.
After their respective meetings, the governors announced they had signed MOUs with Texas where they agreed to implement new measures within their territories to increase border security while improving the flow of commercial traffic. After the signing of these agreements, Governor Abbot rescinded his enhanced safety inspections order to DPS which allowed them to go back to normal practices immediately after in every Texas border crossing.
Among several initiatives, each state committed in the MOUs to work cooperative with Texas to implement various new measures to increase security along the Texas-Mexico border. Of interest, the states committed to work cooperatively to restore the border-crossing inspection process to allow commercial crossing at a faster pace.
After the signing of these MOU’s between Texas and each of its four border states in Mexico, we can expect cross border wait times to begin to go back to normal.
As TAB, we will work closely and often with our friends in our border states to identify positive ways to take advantage of the agreements to protect and strengthen supply chains in our region and to foster an even greater economic cooperation with our Mexican partners.