Border blockades affect businesses in Mexico and the U.S.

Tijuana's National Chamber of Commerce registered a loss of MXN$134 million in the last month
Border blockades affect businesses in Mexico and the U.S.
The president of the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce, Jason Wells, said that the economic damages went both ways - Photo: Eduardo Jaramillo/EL UNIVERSAL
05/12/2018
13:43
Gabriela Martínez / Corresponsal
Mexico City
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A shopkeeper exits his shop. Once again, heha perdido su clientela enters and exits again, he glances at one or two people who walk by, opposed to the dozens of potential customers that usually parade on Revolution Av., in downtown Tijuana. “People are scared and they don’t know what to expect now that the city has earned a reputation of chaos,” says the man.

Ray Barraza owns a business of arts and crafts that, for over a month, ever since frictions started in the northern Mexico border, has lost more and more customers. His business used to serve a clientele of around 100 visitors a day; Today, that number has been cut short to less than 50.

He is not the only shopkeeper having problems. For more than 20 businesses operating along the 11 streets that intersect with the avenue, ever since the U.S. government decided to block all border points, and as a consequence of security operations to stop the Central American migrants from crossing, it has been hard to make ends meet.

“We haven’t seen the government take action to solve the problem; it has jumped out of control. The Americans have closed the border and people who used to come from the other side are not doing that anymore, because they imagine that there is some kind of battlefield here because of the protests, the border closure, and everything that has been going on lately,” he commented.

The chambers of commerce in Tijuana and San Ysidro have been largely affected by the four border closures that were registered in less than a month, due to numerous attempts by members of the migrant caravan to cross the border, as well as preventive operations by the U.S. border patrol and military, all of which has caused economic damages equivalent to MXN$100 million and USD$5 million.

The National Chamber of Commerce, Tourism, and Services (CANACO-SERVYTUR) in Tijuana estimated a loss of MXN$134 million as a result of the border closure in Chaparral and San Ysidro.

However, this phenomenon has not only had an impact in the Mexican territory. Small businesses near the San Ysidro control posts on the side of the United States recorded losses of around USD$5.3 million, since many of them went as far as to close shop during the border closure.

The president of the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce, Jason Wells, said that the economic damages went both ways during the U.S. border closure registered on November 20.

There are around 650 businesses operating in the San Ysidro area, near the line dividing Tijuana and the United States. However, more than half of said businesses had to close shop in the middle of the day.

Since November 20, shop owners have registered a drop in sales of between 35% and 40% compared with last year, only a few days after the first border closure, which lasted around three hours.

The chairman of the Tijuana Development Council (CDT) Aram Hodoyán, stated that, in addition to the MXN$130 million worth of losses, tensions in the border have also had an impact on health and hospitality sectors as a result of tour cancellations, appointments, and the loss of regular customers.

According to official statistics published by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Mexican Customs, and the Mexican Transport Institute, there is a daily flow of 97,300 people going from Mexico into the United States through the San Ysidro control posts and 111,348 people coming to Mexico from the U.S. through the Chaparral control posts.
 

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