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Texas’ economic partnership with Mexico is an integral component of our state’s long-term economic prosperity, and it’s imperative that we continue to foster cross-border collaboration. For border cities like McAllen, strengthening this bilateral relationship is a major determining factor in reaching our region’s full economic potential.

As a business leader involved deeply in international trade throughout the Texas-Mexico border region and beyond, I am concerned about the U.S. Department of Transportation’s tentative decision to terminate approval of the joint cooperation agreement between Delta Air Lines and Aeromexico. Ending approval of the JCA is both a counterproductive and unprecedented decision by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the Biden administration. It will drastically hurt commercial exchange between the United States and Mexico, risking the livelihoods of thousands of individuals and the vibrancy of the communities that are supported by cross-border commerce.

The JCA has been instrumental in driving economic growth and opportunity on both sides of the border. Most notably, it has facilitated job creation, enhanced service options for travelers, and contributed to the enrichment of experiences for millions of passengers traveling between Mexico and the United States.

Terminating this vital partnership would have significant consequences, including threatening up to two dozen crucial air routes between our nations. This could result in substantial consumer negative impacts, estimated at approximately $800 million per year and the loss of hundreds of jobs in the Lone Star State alone.

The DOT’s termination of this agreement could affect a new nonstop Aeromexico route between McAllen and Mexico City. This route is critical to increasing our community’s international connectivity, while directly boosting tourism and commerce that fuel our region’s economic development. However, if the DOT moves forward with its decision, all these benefits will be jeopardized, harming McAllen and surrounding communities throughout the Rio Grande Valley.

A strong air travel infrastructure is an important component in facilitating trade between Mexico and the United States — especially Texas. Mexico is The Lone Star State’s largest trading partner, with more than $285 billion worth of commerce flowing between Texas and Mexico every year. We cannot afford to overlook the detrimental impact this decision would have on the businesses and residents in Texas who rely on robust and efficient trade between our two nations.

But it’s not just the business community that will suffer — many South Texas families rely on efficient and accessible air travel to Mexico. Like our economies, our cultures and families are intertwined, and limiting flight service to cities would significantly hamper the ability of people on both sides of the border to safely and legally visit families, access education, and respond to emergency situations. As nearly 90% of our community is Hispanic — and predominantly Mexican-American — it defies logic that the DOT would even consider ending an air service partnership that helps connect our community to key population centers in Mexico.

The health of McAllen’s economy will be compromised without this partnership. Our community is fortunate to have a vast and skilled talent pool and a plethora of thriving businesses and job opportunities, as do our counterparts across the border. Intentionally working together will ensure that both parties reap the benefits of our mutually beneficial relationship and spur the other toward success.

The DOT should reconsider its decision and instead negotiate further with the Mexican government or pursue other regulatory measures to enforce the U.S.-Mexico air services agreement. We must prioritize our communities’ economic health and prosperity by preserving the vital links that facilitate cross-border commerce between the U.S. and Mexico, Let’s not undermine the spirit of cooperation that is integral to our relationship with Mexico.

Joaquin Spamer is the founder president of Commodities Integrated Logistics, based in McAllen.

Joaquin Spamer