May 17, 2023

Mexican government urges Texas to halt truck inspections at border


The Mexican government has called on Texas to stop even the recently scaled-back state-run cargo truck inspections at the border, which it said have caused long delays and millions of dollars in lost trade.

The inspections overseen by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) began May 2 at Veterans International Bridge in Brownsville and Free Trade International Bridge in the town of Los Indios.

“These inspections are causing delays of between 8 and 27 hours for the entry of international cargo transports to Texas, which mainly affects perishable products,” Mexico’s economy ministry said in a news release Monday. “Ultimately, American consumers are paying the costs of these policies, so it’s in everyone’s interest to restore normalcy at the border.”

The U.S. imported $18.7 billion of produce from Mexico during 2022, including fresh, frozen, and processed fruits, vegetables, and nuts, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The checkpoints launched by the Texas DPS last week are in addition to commercial truck inspections conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Normally, CBP handles about 1,100 trucks a day at Veterans International Bridge. CBP officials said last week they were processing about 400 northbound trucks a day from Mexico because of the slowdowns caused by the DPS inspections.

Texas DPS has said the state-run inspections are aimed at keeping the roads safe by making sure trucks are operating correctly.

DPS and officials for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott did not immediately return a request for comment.

While DPS was initially inspecting 100% of tractor-trailers arriving from Mexico, the state agency began reducing the number of inspections May 8, according to a CBP official.

“The safety inspections have not ended completely. DPS conducts these safety exams, but at a small percentage each day,” Armando Taboada, assistant director of field operations at CBP’s Laredo Field Office, said in an email to FreightWaves. “The issue we had is that they were inspecting 100% [of trucks].”

Despite the reduced inspections, the Mexican government said it will file a complaint with the trade facilitation committee under the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement if the inspections are not halted immediately.

“These actions are motivated by an anti-Mexican vision that is far from the social, cultural and economic integration between Mexico and Texas,” Mexico’s economy ministry said. “Our country is the main trading partner of Texas, a relationship that represents an average of $231 billion a year. Thanks to the USMCA trade agreement, together we have developed supply chains in strategic sectors such as the automotive, electronics and hydrocarbons sectors.”

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