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Local economist says border reopening will provide boost to the economy

Border Checkpoints
Posted at 6:12 PM, Oct 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-13 23:01:03-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The United States has plans to reopen their land borders to non-essential travelers from Mexico and Canada in early November. No official date has been given yet, but we know all travelers will have to show proof of vaccination.

While this is good news for those wanting to see family or take a specific vacation, it also brings economic relief to border economies.

“It’s amazing how much the local border cities and regions have been suffering because the restriction on travel,” said Jim Lee, professor of Economics at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Lee said the border reopening will allow tourism to grow local economies once again. It's been over a year and a half since borders were closed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic in March 2020.

“Overall, it’s going to help the entire Texas economy because we in Texas, especially in Texas, rely a lot on medical services," said Lee. "Which actually happens to be the biggest exports for Texas, in terms of services.”

In more ways than one, the economy will be helped. Lee said this could help solve some domestic issues like the labor shortage. He anticipates legal immigrants and those on work visas to cross the borders immediately for work.

Another issue it could help would be the supply chain issues and production shortages. Lee doesn't believe more demand will strain the supply chain but rather help the economy grow.

“We’ll bring in more produce and ease up the supply chain disruption that we are facing right now. I know a lot of building material from Canada. We think most of those things are essential they should be open up, but no.”

He is predicting the borders reopening will help one or two percentage points in terms of employment.

“This is going to be good news for us," said Lee. "I mean, not until all the borders are open we will continue our to face this kind of weaker supply chain or cost-push inflation.”