Border restrictions won’t hinder commerce, White House says

March 20, 2020

Mark Schremmer


Travel restrictions between the United States, Mexico, and Canada will not affect commerce, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday, March 20.

The three countries are restricting nonessential travel from crossing the borders.

“As we did with Canada, we’re also working with Mexico to implement new rules at our ports of entry to suspend nonessential travel,” President Donald Trump said during a White House news conference. “These new rules and procedures will not impede lawful trade and commerce.”

The announcement comes two days after Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a temporary closure of the border to “nonessential” traffic, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

White House officials said the agreements with Mexico and Canada will take effect Saturday, March 21.

“Let me be clear that neither of these agreements with Canada or Mexico applies to lawful trade or commerce,” said Chad Wolf, acting secretary of Homeland Security. “Essential commercial activities will not be impacted. We will continue to maintain a strong and secure economic supply chain across our borders.”

‘Making the long haul’

Trump also took time at the news conference to mention the work truck drivers have been doing to get needed supplies to the nation.

“Truckers are making the long haul to keep the shelves stocked,” Trump said. “We’ve been dealing with the big stores and the big chains … We’ve made it much easier for them to stock in terms of travel and travel restrictions. We’re lifting the restrictions so that they can get their trucks on time. You’re seeing very few empty shelves, and yet the amount of volume they’re doing is unprecedented.”

On March 18, Trudeau said travelers will no longer be permitted to cross the border for recreation and tourism.

“I want to be clear, though, that essential travel will continue,” Trudeau said. “Our governments recognize that it is critical that we preserve supply chains between both countries. These supply chains ensure that food, fuel, and life-saving medicines reach people on both sides of the border. Supply chains, including trucking, will not be affected by this new measure.”