Free and Secure Trade

U.S. & Mexico to Work on Cargo Pre-Clearance Pilot, C-TPAT-Like Program for Mexico

On December 15, 2010, the U.S. and Mexico Executive Steering Committee on 21st Century Border Management (ESC) held its first meeting where it adopted an Action Plan establishing specific goals for the U.S.-Mexico border region.

Action Plan initiatives include the establishment of pilot projects in locations such as Laredo and Nogales for cargo pre-inspection and pre-clearance in both countries; expanding trusted traveler and shipper programs, including Mexico’s establishment of a trusted shipper program that aligns with C-TPAT; establishing specific milestones to be reached over the next twelve months on various border crossing projects; and improving cooperation between Mexican and U.S. law enforcement agencies.

(The May 19, 2010 Declaration by U.S. and Mexican governments concerning 21st century border management identified key areas for engagement. To coordinate and f

acilitate work aimed at furthering the goals noted in the Declaration, the U.S. and Mexico established the ESC, which is composed of representatives from the appropriate federal government departments and offices.)
The ESC has agreed to focus its initial Action Plan on the following priority projects, some of which are elements of larger initiatives, with the intent that the U.S. and Mexican governments accomplish them in twelve months, or less:


Test Concepts for Bi-national Pre-Clearance, Pre-Screening, and Pre-Inspection

Test concepts for pre-clearance, pre-screening, and pre-inspection of people, goods, and products, in order to alleviate congestion at land ports of entry (POEs) and intercept dangerous individuals, hazardous or counterfeit goods, plant and animal pests, adulterated or spoiled food, and contraband before they cause harm. This includes:

  • Developing a joint cost-benefit analysis of potential pre-clearance models.
  • Exploring options for different models of pre-clearance at locations of mutual interest.
  • Developing recommendations for legislative and regulatory changes necessary to allow pre-clearance and the use of private sector funds for staffing and operating costs.
  • Defining a bi-national statement of standards and policy for pre-clearance and pre-inspection programs.
  • Initiating pilot pre-clearance, pre-screening, and pre-inspection programs in locations such as the Laredo airport and the Nogales-Mariposa port of entry.

Improve Cross-Border Commerce and Ties by Reducing Congestions, Delays
Reduce congestion and delays in cross-border traffic entering both Mexico and the U.S., building a foundation for an efficient border and expanded economic growth, improving community safety, and reducing unhealthy emissions from idling vehicles. This includes:

  • Reaching bilateral agreement on standards and technology for regular and continuous measurement of wait times at land border ports of entry in order to establish mechanisms to reduce wait times and provide useful information for travelers and shippers.
  • Concluding the seven ongoing pilot studies on border wait times at Pharr, Laredo, Colombia, Brownsville “Veterans,” Nogales “Mariposa,” Jerónimo-Santa Teresa, and El Paso “Ysleta-Zaragoza,” in order to develop a base line for improvement.
  • Identifying funding for and fully implement operational solutions at two locations.
  • Reviewing all Intelligent Transportation Systems used in the border region, including electronic toll systems, and identify areas for improvements.
  • In accordance with the commitments of Presidents Obama and President Calderón to establish a High-Level Regulatory Cooperation Council (HLRCC), finding key areas of engagement where the ESC can work with the HLRCC to take advantage of its expertise and to avoid redundancy.
  • Reviewing regulations and other requirements that pertain to cross-border rail operations and work cooperatively to achieve additional efficiencies within the existing legal and regulatory environment.
  • Convening a Greening Transportation Border Workshop to share best practices and encourage better resource use.

Use Bi-National Risk Management to Speed up Low Risk Cargo, Passengers

Use shared programs, enhanced information sharing, improved technology, and other risk management strategies to focus law enforcement attention on those who most merit it while speeding the passage of lower risk passengers and cargo. This includes:

  • Expanding use of trusted traveler and trusted shipper programs by increasing enrollment and increasing the incentives for and ease of using them.1
  • Agreeing upon common security standards and validation for Trusted Shipper programs and that Mexico will establish its own trusted shipper program with security standards and a validation process that aligns with the U.S. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program.
  • Establishing a program to harmonize toll payment mechanisms along the border to encourage SENTRI and FAST program participants to use multiple POEs.
  • Continuing improving risk management and targeting cooperation by expanding existing exchanges of passenger information to detect and detain possible drug and weapons smugglers, and other criminals that travel between the U.S. and Mexico.
  • Enhancing mechanisms, such as the Global Entry Program, that permit travelers from Mexico and the U.S. to facilitate their entrance to both countries at land POEs by using expedited and dedicated processes to process pre-approved, low-risk international travelers who qualify.
  • Establishing a common standard for vetting Trusted Traveler participants.
  • Strengthening bilateral cooperation on repatriations to return Mexican nationals in a safe, humane, and orderly manner that discourages human smuggling and promotes social and economic reintegration.

Improve Bi-National Infrastructure Coordination

Improve bi-national coordination in planning, financing, permitting, designing, building, and operating POEs, including considering shared priorities for investments in border infrastructure, funding mechanisms for infrastructure projects, and optimal staffing of POEs. (See link for details.)
Implement Bi-National Stakeholder Interaction Mechanisms

To better address community concerns about both security and efficiency, implement coordinated bi-national stakeholder interaction mechanisms, and establish regular public meetings of these mechanisms that engage supply chain stakeholders and other interested parties, including local and state governments.

Business Resumption Study for Emergencies

Create protocols to ensure full bi-national coordination before, during, and after emergency shutdowns. Develop a combined study of business resumption options following emergencies.
Enhance Bi-National Law Enforcement Cooperation

Consistent with the principle of co-responsibility, augment law enforcement cooperation including the collection, analysis, and sharing of information – consistent with applicable laws, regulations, and policies – from interdictions, investigations, and prosecutions in order to disrupt “criminal flows” and enhance public safety.

When Gov’ts Complete an Item, Another Would Replace It

This Action Plan is focused on concrete actions to be carried out over the next 12 months. When the U.S. and Mexican governments complete any listed initiative, another agreed to bilaterally would replace it, after endorsement by the ESC or its delegates in each country. The Action Plan does not exclude other long-term cooperation that continues to be part of the bilateral relations between the U.S. and Mexico.
Press release on the ESC meeting
(See link for details)

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