President Trump announced the United States-Mexico border will be temporarily closed to non-essential traffic, but the new rules will not apply to cargo and trade.
Trump said sharply limiting travel across the U.S.’s borders with Canada and Mexico are necessary to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are implementing the same measures at our southern border that we have with our northern border (Canada); our borders are being treated equally,” President Trump said during a press conference from Washington, D.C. on Friday. “These actions taken with America’s North American partners will save countless lives.”
The new travel limitations apply to recreational and tourist travel and are similar to limits the U.S. and Canada put in place earlier this week.
President Trump said there would be no ban on people traveling for work or other essential activities across borders. He added that Mexico is also suspending air travel from Europe.
The new restrictions on travel between Mexico and the U.S. will begin on Saturday, March 21, according to Chad Wolf, acting secretary for Homeland Security.
“We have reached an agreement with both Canada and Mexico to limit non-essential travel across our land borders,” Wolf said. “Neither of these agreements with Canada or Mexico applies to lawful trade or commerce. Essential commercial activities will not be impacted. We will continue to maintain a strong and secure economic supply chain across our borders.”
Mexican officials said they worked closely with the Trump administration to work on a cross-border agreement.
“We have made a catalog of essential activities that should not be affected,” said Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard on Friday from a press conference. “It includes all the activities of commerce, transportation of merchandise, logistics movement that have to do with commercial activity.”
Mexico was the U.S.’s largest trading partner in 2019, with more than $614 billion in two-way trade, according to census data compiled by WorldCity Inc.