Gipson: Imports, exports to and from Mexico vital to Mississippi

Published: Apr. 3, 2019 at 6:29 PM CDT
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President Trump has said he will close the U.S. - Mexico border, if our southern neighbor doesn't do more to stop illegal immigration through its territory.

The president said he knows it would have an impact on the economy, but he's most concerned with security.

However, a big portion of Mississippi's trade would be in jeopardy if it closes.

"A border closure would be a very detrimental thing to Mississippi agriculture trade, to our farmers, to our commerce as a state," said Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson. "It would be a terrible thing to happen."

So, how much do we depend on Mexico for goods?

"A lot of the produce that is in the grocery stores in the wintertime and the early spring, a lot of that is Mexican produce," Gipson said. "So, it's important we have that chain of food supply."

But trade works both ways with our neighbors to the south.

"Mexico is the 9th largest importer of Mississippi agriculture commodities in the world," said Gipson.

We send Mexico more than $27 million worth of products every year, with poultry and timber among the top commodities.

That trade relationship is why Commissioner Gipson says he supports the President's trade agreement that's pending Congressional approval.

"Republicans and Democrats find a solution that will benefit the whole United States and especially our farmers," said Gipson. "Our farmers are the ones hurting the most through all this controversy and we need a solution through the approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement."

The market uncertainties are already having impact on the state's agriculture and trade with some farmers changing what they plant this spring since they don't know what price it will attract.

Meanwhile, the state's auto industry could take a hit. The Center for Automotive Research said this week that the North American auto industry would be crippled within a week if the border is closed.