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Cargo Pre-Inspection Pilots Among Customs Cooperation Efforts with Mexico

Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

In a June 17 speech, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske highlighted the following measures the U.S. and Mexico have taken to improve operations at their shared border.

Single Window. The U.S. is working toward a December 2016 deadline for full implementation of the International Trade Data System, but Mexico has already deployed its own “viable, active single window” system that has saved more than $12.4 billion and eliminates the need to send documents from the 49 Mexico Customs sites to Customs headquarters. CBP and Mexico Customs have “worked closely to harmonize data set standards used by both countries,” Kerlikowske said, and will “continue to identify ways to connect these programs internationally.”

Supply Chain Security. In October 2014 the U.S. and Mexico signed a mutual recognition arrangement formalizing the compatibility of the United States’ Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program and Mexico’s New Scheme of Certified Companies. “What this means,” Kerlikowske said, “is that whenever possible, each customs administration will extend benefits to the partners and members of the other’s supply chain security and trusted trader program.” Both sides have already exchanged information, participated in several trade events and designed a strategy to recognize validations conducted by each other. For example, NEEC will be conducting 60 validations this year of companies in Mexico that are both C-TPAT and NEEC members and C-TPAT will recognize the outcome of those validations while also

conducting validations on behalf of NEEC. A number of joint validations will also be conducted.

Cargo Pre-inspection. According to Kerlikowske, the U.S. and Mexico are implementing cargo pre-inspection pilots at three locations, each of which will last 180 days and feature U.S. and Mexican officials working side-by-side. The first will begin in late August at Laredo International Airport and will involve pre-inspection of air cargo from the automotive, electronics and aerospace industries destined to eight Mexican airports. The second is scheduled for mid-September at Mesa de Otay, Baja California, Mexico, just across from the Otay Mesa port of entry in California. The third pilot is set to be launched in mid-2016 at the FOXCONN facility in Chihuahua, Mexico, near Santa Teresa, N.M.

Infrastructure. Noting that aging facilities and limited resources at land ports of entry cause long, costly wait times for people and goods, Kerlikowske said the U.S. and Mexico have “made significant headway” in improving this infrastructure. In 2014 the U.S. completed construction on the Nogales-Mariposa POE, doubling the number of primary commercial inspection lanes to eight and significantly improving the port’s capacity for processing more than half of the U.S. winter produce. CBP and Mexico Customs are now in the final stages of fully replacing the outdated inspection facility at Fabens-Caseta, Texas, which does not currently process commercial traffic. The two sides are developing a new Tornillo-Guadalupe POE, which will create additional commercial processing capacity in the greater El Paso border region and will become the largest port by area in the U.S. Finally, CBP and Mexico Customs are collaborating with project sponsors on the proposed toll-based Otay Mesa East POE, which, if implemented, would provide an alternative crossing option for commercial and non-commercial traffic and thus help ease the congestion at existing crossings between California and Baja California.

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