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Vicente Gonzalez (Courtesy: Congressman Vicente Gonzalez/Facebook)

U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Brownsville, led a bipartisan letter in October to the U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Katherine Tai, urging quick and decisive action against the rising theft of imported U.S fuel and its illicit sale in Mexico.

“On October 16, 2023, cartel gunmen forced a dozen fuel trucks to dump their gasoline into a field in Matamoros, across from Brownsville, the most populous city in my district,” Gonzalez said in a news release about the letter.

It called the incident a brazen criminal act that severely undermines longstanding trade agreements that are vital to the economic growth of border communities.

“Trade deals like the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), were set in place to ensure that goods continue to flow freely between our two countries, unimpeded by criminals who want nothing more than to line their own pockets at the expense of our businesses and citizens,” the release stated. “The Government of Mexico and the U.S. Government must act quickly to protect shipments of fuel and other goods into Mexico and halt the cartels’ brazen actions as they continue to jeopardize our existing trade agreement.”

In addition, the letter calls for Mexico to uphold its obligation to the USMCA, as it has temporally restricted the import of U.S. fuel under the guise of combating contraband fuel in the country. U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar and Dan Crenshaw also signed onto the letter.