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Retailers fear border shutdown would do serious damage to the American economy

The retail trade association that represents department stories, grocers and wholesalers warned that closing the southern border with Mexico would hurt U.S. retailers, consumers and workers.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) sent a letter to members of the Trump administration about how retailers rely on Mexico for fruits, vegetables, electronics, appliances, auto parts, and apparel, among other things.


“We share the administration’s goal of fixing the nation’s broken immigration system and enhancing border security. However, there is no way to close the U.S-Mexico border without inflicting serious damage to the American economy,” NRF’s president and CEO Matthew Shay wrote in the letter.

The letter was addressed to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, and Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

“For retailers in U.S. border communities, this would ultimately mean workforce disruptions and reduced sales. American small businesses in those communities would face a disproportionate burden, as many smaller stores depend on legitimate travel across borders for up to half of their daily sales,” Shays wrote.

NRF is the latest trade group to weigh in on the issue, adding to the pressure on President Trump to back off his threats.

The Business Roundtable, a trade group representing major Americans businesses, sent a letter to the administration this week, while the National Association of Manufacturers released an economic study on how much businesses would lose if the border closes.

Trump told reporters on Tuesday that he is aware of the potential cost of closing the border and Kudlow later told reporters that the White House is exploring ways to mitigate the economic harm it could cause.

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