Mexico has been planning a trade railway that spans thousands of miles from Mazatlán to Winnipeg, with a connection in Texas. But while the T-MEC Corridor railway connecting the two nations is still happening, the stop in Texas is not.
Mexican officials have now decided to instead reroute the line through New Mexico, The Dallas Morning News reports. It’s a major loss for Texas, because border states thrive and depend on international trade. But the state has only one person to blame for this change: Greg Abbott.
Mexican Economy Minister Tatiana Clouthier said Abbott’s political stunt forcing commercial vehicles to undergo redundant inspections caused officials to rethink the Texas connection, all but calling the right-wing governor too volatile to deal with. Abbott shut down his $4 billion stunt just ten days after announcing it, following intense bipartisan opposition ranging from fellow state Republicans to the White House.
“We’re now not going to use Texas,” Clouthier said in the report. “We can’t leave all the eggs in one basket and be hostages to someone who wants to use trade as a political tool.”
But despite Texas’ own data showing that the governor’s redundant inspections turned up precisely zero migrants or drugs, he’s threatened to reinstate the policy. Not because of some new perceived threat—but because he didn’t like critical remarks by Mexico’s president. That threat probably didn’t help Abbott’s case when it came to the rail line—but why should Mexican officials further deal with a hostile actor when there are far friendlier neighbors?
“Jerry Pacheco, president of the Santa Teresa-based Border Industrial Association, called Clouthier’s announcement ‘a very positive step for New Mexico,’ but cautioned that such a project will take years to complete and ‘anything can happen in that time,’” The Dallas Morning News said. Pacheco told the outlet that they hope this fosters a continued relationship even if there’s a snag with the line.
“If this particular project doesn’t work out, there’ll be other projects that the Mexican government will have and they’ll speak favorably of New Mexico because they know we want to work with them in a constructive way,” Pacheco continued. He noted that Abbott’s stunt forcing massive commercial delays led to higher traffic numbers for his state.
Economists in Texas have said Texas’ now-rescinded policy “will cost the equivalent of 77,000 job years for the country and 36,300 for Texas’ economy,” The Dallas Morning News recently reported. Nationally, Abbott caused us roughly $9 billion in lost gross domestic product. But he’s also going to have to grapple with the interpersonal damage he created with his neighbor to the south (that is, if he even cares). The Dallas Morning News in its newer report said that Mexican Foreign Minster Marcelo Ebrard called Abbott’s policy extortion.
“I close the border and you have to sign whatever I say,” he said is what Abbott was forcing on them. “That’s not a deal; a deal is when you and I are in agreement on something.”
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