Commentary: Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall joined business and community leaders along the southern border for a panel discussion about border economic issues. Udall spoke about New Mexico's booming border economy, and the ways these business have benefitted from ties with Mexico — New Mexico's largest trade partner. Representatives from the Border Industrial Association, International Business Accelerator, Omega Trucking Inc., Union Pacific, and New Mexico State University participated in the panel, and discussed the economic uncertainty created by the Trump administration's promise to re-write NAFTA, impose a border tax, and build a wall along the entire border.
"New Mexico's border economy is booming, in large part due to the Santa Teresa Port of Entry and the businesses along the border that are taking advantage of international trade opportunities with Mexico, our state's largest trade partner. Santa Teresa has been a bright spot in our economy, bringing in manufacturers, businesses and jobs to Southern New Mexico and providing a gateway for tourists, students, livestock, and agricultural products," Udall said. "New Mexico — and particularly our border economies — would be hardest hit by a trade war with Mexico. I heard from businesses today and they are concerned with the talk coming from Washington and the Trump administration about our relationship with Mexico — from shortsighted changes to NAFTA, to imposing a harmful border tax, to building a wall along the entire border. These proposals would each be destructive to New Mexico's border economy. I am committed to educating this administration about the facts about our border, and ensuring this reckless talk doesn't lead to reckless policy. I will oppose any changes to NAFTA that would undermine our trade relationship or friendship with Mexico, and as a member of the appropriations committee, I will fight any efforts to fund a border wall that would send the wrong message to our deeply important ally."
"Senator Udall has been a steadfast ally for New Mexico's border communities, and I was glad to welcome him to Santa Teresa today for this critical discussion about the successes and challenges facing our rapidly growing border economies," said Jerry Pacheco, Executive Director, International Business Accelerator. "New Mexicans here at the border know better than Washington: Mexico is a friend, not an adversary — and our trade relationship with Mexico couldn't be more important to the economic success of our state."
In addition to the panel discussion, Udall toured Southwest Steel and Coil, Inc. in Santa Teresa. During the tour, Udall heard from business leaders about how a climate of uncertainty and threats of backward border policies are holding back economic expansion in the region. In 2013, Southwest Steel and Coil was named the Small Business Association's Exporter of the Year for District Six, which includes New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas.
Yesterday, Udall attended the groundbreaking of the new and expanded Port of Entry in Columbus, New Mexico. Udall was was instrumental in securing the $85.6 million in federal funding to expand the current border crossing facilities. The upgrade to the Columbus Port of Entry will improve security, encourage trade and create jobs in the community.