On Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was forced to suspend rail operations at key points into and out of Mexico, specifically El Paso and Eagle Pass, Texas, to alleviate a sharp increase in illegal immigration at the border. These actions affect U.S. corn and barley at this time, two commodities the U.S. Grains Council represents. The CBP is working with the Mexican government and the Mexican rail system to remedy the situation as quickly as possible, but there is no timeline for resumption of normal operations. The U.S. Grains Council in Mexico is working with the Mexican industry and end users and monitoring the situation to ensure the least amount of disruption in services. Mexico is the top U.S. trading partner for U.S. corn, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and barley, purchasing 16 million metric tons (MMT), 2 MMT and 317,000 metric tons, respectively, in the 2022-2023 marketing year.
“The suspensions in El Paso and Eagle Pass threaten to impact trade to our most important partner, so we are working hard in the country to help alleviate the issues as quickly as possible,” said Ryan LeGrand, U.S. Grains Council president and CEO. “The trading system in North America relies on interconnectedness, and any disruption affects both the U.S. and Mexican economies, not only with corn, DDGS and barley, but it also affects processing, biofuels production, feeding livestock and more, so it is vital the situation is resolved in a timely manner for the betterment of producers, industry and consumers on either side of the border.”
The Council will continue to monitor the situation.