EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Post-pandemic trade is booming in the El Paso-Juarez corridor and is being reflected in increased commercial activity at the region’s border crossings.
Total trade is up 17.5 percent at El Paso ports of entry and 23.2 percent in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30 compared with a similar period in 2021, according to the Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness at the University of Texas at El Paso.
“Trade across the top 10 U.S.-Mexico ports of entry increased during the first three quarters of 2022 [….] Ports of entry in the Paso del Norte region remained in the top five positions for total trade during that period,” the institute reported on its monthly Paso Del Norte Economic Indicator Review.
Some 300 U.S.-run factories in Juarez, known as maquiladoras, that manufacture components for the automotive, electronics and medical industries in North America and Europe are largely responsible for the regional trade activity, industry experts say.
The Hunt report says increased activity in the services sectors this year is driving year-over-year job growth in El Paso and Las Cruces, New Mexico. But in Juarez, it’s the manufacturing sector that drives the growth.
Juarez recorded increases in all sectors: 13,800 jobs added in manufacturing; 3,200 in construction and mining; 2,600 services jobs; 1,500 in transportation and utilities; and 1,000 in trade, the report states.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in late October said they were aware of the post-pandemic boom in trade and making sure the flow of goods moves across the border as fast as national security permits.
“We’re an integral part of the U.S. economy and the flow; we have to make sure commerce keeps flowing and be positive contributors to the U.S. domestic product, I think more so now than even before” the pandemic, said El Paso Port Director Ray Provencio. “We have to make sure the supply chain is not impacted and make sure people get what they need where it is going – and make sure it’s safe, too. National security is a primary mission set within the Office of Field Operations.”
The Hunt report also touched on inflation in the region, where the price of bananas is up 119.3 percent and whole wheat bread is up almost 60 percent as of Sept. 30.