U.S., Mexico seek common customs form
The United States and Mexico committed Monday to expand collaborative efforts to increase security along the border while easing the flow of legitimate travel and trade between the two countries.
The shared border management approach includes the goal of creating a common customs entry document.
Soon after taking the reins of government in January, the Obama administration began increasing law enforcement efforts on the Southwest border to help the Mexican government combat drug cartels bent on intimidation and prevent the violence from spilling over into U.S. border communities. In addition to providing financial and intelligence assistance to Mexican law enforcement agencies, the U.S. effort has involved extra resources to focus on inspecting outbound travelers and cargo shipments for cash and weapons that fortify the drug warlords.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Augustin Carstens, Mexico's Minister of Finance and Public Credit, signed a Letter of Intent in Washington to:
' Create a framework for establishing Port Security Management Committees.
' Develop a joint implementation plan for building up technical and human capacity for improved border management.
' Increase trade facilitation through information sharing and a harmonized customs clearance process.
The document essentially states the two countries intend to update and enhance a 2007 bilateral strategic plan between Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Mexico Customs.
Types of shared information include data on stolen vehicles and results of vehicle searches by border officers.
Napolitano said CBP will train Mexican Customs officers in Mexico using its agenda and curricula after they have completed Mexican Customs training. Mexican Customs has recently finished training 1,500 new customs officers.
The two governments want to develop a single customs entry form that can be used for each country as one way to make trade compliance easier for cross-border businesses, Napolitano said, according to a copy of her remarks at the signing ceremony.
Napolitano said CBP and Mexico Customs are discussing protocols for investigating and otherwise dealing with border violence, including port running by smugglers.