President Trump Announces Updates to Border Control
UNITED STATES - As the United States continues its efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), President Donald Trump has issued an update on border controls. According to NPR, Trump stated at a press conference on Wednesday that he plans to seal off the U.S-Mexico border—but that the southern border would not close completely.
Growers tell us there may be potential slowdowns, but suppliers are aiming to keep operations running with the least amount of impact as possible.
“This is a very fluid situation, with things constantly changing, but as of this moment there are no limitations on the U.S. side of the U.S./Mexico border in Texas,” Dante Galeazzi, President and CEO of the Texas International Produce Association, shared this morning. “Everything is flowing through, and so far we haven’t gotten any complaints of delays. We have also been in communication with Customs Border Patrol (CBP) on a nearly daily basis, and we are grateful to see that they continue to communicate with us and seek industry feedback. CBP appears dedicated to ensuring the flow of commerce, and fresh produce, continues without interruption.”
He added that if we see an impact on international produce trade it will likely be fewer workers, as those who can’t come in must instead care for loved ones and children at home.
“I think that will be the biggest potential disruption for the produce industry. The importance of fruits and vegetables to the human immune system should be strongly reinforced right now. Obviously, everyone should be taking the best precautions as far as cleanliness and personal hygiene, but you should also be looking at what you are putting in your body,” Dante said.
With operations at Texas and Arizona port of entries, Matt Mandel, Vice President of Finance and Legal, SunFed, shared his sentiments on the current environment.
“We want to reassure retailers that trade will keep flowing at the southern and northern borders despite possible measures put into place,” Matt shared. “There may be potential slowdowns, but we will address the policy changes as they arise and do our best to mitigate any challenges that we can.”
Tony Incaviglia, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at GR Fresh, also expressed business operations will run as smoothly as possible.
“There is talk about potential closure for human crossings, but this should not impact any restrictions for produce or food in general, pending any developments in the severity of the virus,” Tony confirmed. “Business should continue as usual with only the normal social distancing practices to limit exposure.”
The U.S. and Canada, however, have agreed to close their mutual border to all “non-essential” traffic. In a report released by the CBC, the federal government has said it will allow temporary foreign workers to continue entering Canada, despite new restrictions at the border to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. Workers will be allowed to enter Canada after observing a 14-day period of self-isolation.
"During these unprecedented times, we continue to attempt to meet all of our retail partners' demands from our greenhouses in Mexico, USA, and Canada," Carlos Visconti, Chief Executive Officer of USA and Canada Operations, Red Sun Farms, reflected. "As of today, with the information we have received, our borders are open for the transportation of essential needs such as produce, and we are committed to meet the retailers' demands. Our staff are highly engaged and working with governing agencies in Mexico, USA, and Canada to ensure proactive responses to the changing environment."
Communication between suppliers and customers has become a crucial part of the dialogue and will remain so on all fronts, according to growers.
“It was made clear by both Canadain Prime Minister Trudeau and U.S. President Trump that border restrictions would not affect cargo. The produce industry is considered a necessary business, and we continue to work to meet the needs of our customers, supporting all our farming operations across North America, and meeting the needs of our retail and foodservice partners,” Chris Veillon, Chief Marketing Officer at Pure Flavor, shared. “Of course we are respecting the restrictions put into place, and most importantly we are working to ensure our partners are getting what they need during this challenging time.”
AndNowUKnow will continue to update the latest news in the industry.