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Tucson businesses could lose sales if border closes

Arizona sells parts and services to Mexico
Posted at 7:24 PM, Apr 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-02 22:24:56-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - There's still a lot of suspense over whether President Trump will shut down the border and that leads to a lot of suspense for Arizona's economy.

There's more to cross-border business than produce.

Mexican factories depend on companies in Southern Arizona for parts and services.

The University of Arizona says recent sales to Mexico averaged 682 million dollars a month.

For the year, electronics going to Mexico through Nogales have been worth two and a half to three billion dollars, and equipment sales were worth about one-point-two billion.

President Trump is still saying he may close the border unless Mexico stops the flow of immigrants.

“Mexico is now stopping people coming---very easy for them to do, stopping people coming in through Mexico. Let's see if they keep doing that. If they don't, or if we don't get a deal with Congress, the border's gonna be closed. 100 percent. And this should have been done by other Presidents."

Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson is on the U.S./Mexico Border County Coalition.

She says, “We have parts being made for Raytheon in Mexico that then come back up here. We also have maquilas with the auto industry being manufactured in Mexico, those parts come back across the border. If we don't get those parts. If we shut down the border, we're going to shut down auto plants in the US. That's what's going to happen."

If the border is closed, a lot of companies will not have a warehouse full of parts to keep them going for a couple of weeks. A lot of factories have embraced what they call the just in time system. You don't sit on a stockpile of engines or batteries or radiators; you bolt them in the minute they're delivered.

Bronson wants the border to stay open and wants more Customs officers to inspect cargo and keep it moving. Ports were already short of inspectors before the administration began shifting officers to process more immigrants.