Owner of a Mexican cement company expressed his desire to provide cement for the US President-elect’s effort to secure the border between the two countries from the onslaught of rife organized crime.
“I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words,” US President-elect Donald Trump used to reiterate night after night when on his electoral campaigning trail during the past several months. His pledge appears to be coming true somewhat: a Mexican-based cement producer has announced its plans to assist the next US President in his effort to secure the southern border of the United States from the trafficking of drugs, humans and weapons, currently rampant in the entire border region, from San Diego in California, to Corpus Christi in Texas.
Enrique Escalante, CEO and the owner of Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua (GCC), has expressed his willingness to participate in Trump’s endeavour to build the border wall. Having taken Trump’s pledge to ‘build the wall’ literally, Escalante stated he sees the endeavour as a potentially very profitable opportunity for his business, as substantial shipments of cement would generate solid earnings for his company.
“We cannot be picky. We are a leading manufacturer in the area and we must respect our customers from both sides of the border,” Escalante said.
The aspiration might, however, fall through, as such a partnership would interfere with Trump’s other policy goals, such as promoting the creation of market-competitive jobs in US manufacturing. Essentially, it would make sense that the cement for a physical wall of any sort would be sourced from US-based manufacturers, and the entire production financed by the Mexican side in one form or another. At least this is what Trump’s rhetoric would suggest.
“For our industry, Trump is a favored candidate”, Escalante proclaimed.
Apparently, the Mexican manufacturer is cherishing the aspirations for a windfall of high-paying US governmental contracts raining upon their business at the expense of the US budget – a practice, rather widespread in the previous years. Meanwhile, the difference in currency exchange rates – the Mexican peso has been severely battered by the shock of Trump’s election – would make dollar-denominated contracts even more appealing.
Currently, GCC, based in the Mexican state of Chihuahua on the southern side of the border with the western part of Texas and all of New Mexico, is shipping roughly 70pc of its produce into the US. Capitalising on cheaper labour costs in Mexico and higher prices on manufactured goods in the US, supported by the skyrocketing home prices and rife demand for construction materials, GCC has been flourishing within the NAFTA-determined reality of the bilateral trade. Trump’s urge to renegotiate or end NAFTA would most certainly kill or decimate the along-the-border Mexican businesses such as GCC.
Trump’s ‘big, beautiful, and strong’ border wall, estimated at 3,200 kilometres (2,000 miles) in length, would appear to be rather a costly deal, requiring enormous amounts of materials and labour – if perceived as a literal intent to erect a physical border wall. However, the fragments of bulwarks and fences here and there have been in place since at least the mid-2000s, and have only had a limited effect curbing the sweeping trans-border crime.
According to the observations of the Department of the State, the crime situation along the US-Mexican border is quite gruesome. On the south-of-the-border end, the cartel activities include trafficking of illicit drugs and humans (‘illegal immigration’) into the United States, among multiple other examples of lower-profile crime-for-profit.
On the US side, crime syndicates are involved in shipping weapons and ammunition south of the border, supported by corruption and general chaos in the arrangement of border protection facilities and personnel allocation. Substantial surveillance from the US government has had only limited effects containing the raging criminal mess.
Most recently, President-elect Trump said that wielded barbed-wired fences might suffice as a measure of physical demarcation of the border. His ‘border wall’ effort will also include boosting the amount of border control personnel, as well as providing additional training and equipment. Border surveillance with an increased use of hi-tech might eventually be decided upon as a better idea, and Trump’s pledge to curb corruption via ‘draining the swamp’ might do a better job securing the border than a wall of brick and concrete, as the Mexican entrepreneur envisions it.
In July, the President of Mexico, after meeting with Trump, then the GOP presidential nominee, said to the media he would not finance the construction of a border wall. Trump, however, later referred to the meeting as a ‘very productive discussion’.
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