Texas is off the table as pathway for the ambitious T-MEC Corridor, a railway project meant to connect Mazatlán in Mexico’s Sinaloa state with Winnipeg in Canada’s Manitoba province. Mexican Economy Minister Tatiana Clouthier spoke about the decision during this year’s Latin American Cities conference presented by the Americas Society Council of the Americas. Much of what Clouthier had to say had to do with the conference’s theme of nearshoring, the practice of outsourcing to a nearby country. In Clouthier’s case, parts of that nearby country (the state of Texas in the U.S.) have been inhospitable to the T-MEC Corridor, so the route will instead run through New Mexico. It was originally planned to go through the Lone Star State until Gov. Greg Abbott temporarily required “enhanced” inspections of commercial trucks traveling from Mexico to Texas.
The added inspections, which Abbott claimed would counteract potential smuggling and address safety concerns, ultimately turned up nothing and led to Texas losing $4 billion over the stunt, which lasted just 10 days. Not content to shoot himself in the foot just once, when Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador voiced his displeasure over the added checks, Abbott threatened to do it again. For that reason, Clouthier said last week that Mexico is “now not going to use Texas.” “We can’t leave all the eggs in one basket and be hostages to someone who wants to use trade as a political tool,” she added.
Clouthier’s remarks centered on what would ultimately benefit Mexico as a sure bet, so it makes sense that she would shirk Abbott’s volatility and route the T-MEC Corridor through Santa Teresa, New Mexico, which sits just 20 miles west of downtown El Paso, according to the Dallas Morning News. New Mexico officials hailed the development, with Border Industrial Association President Jerry Pacheco telling the paper that already he’s seen the difference in how Mexico interacts with New Mexico based on Abbott’s decisions. The brief period of added inspections, which lasted from April 6 to April 15, led to hours of backups for border crossings, wasting both time and money. Pacheco said that during that time—and even now—communities in Mexico and the U.S. are finding that Santa Teresa is a faster route comparatively.
“It’s been very interesting, but since Gov. Abbott’s truck inspections went away, our traffic numbers remain higher than normal in terms of northbound cargo shipments, which leads me to believe that what I thought would be a temporary fix is actually going to stick in the long term,” the Santa Teresa-based Pacheco told the Dallas Morning News. Pacheco admitted that the T-MEC project is still in its early stages but that New Mexico being brought up as a key component of the route is “a positive thing.”
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