WASHINGTON — U.S. and Mexican shippers and transportation providers in their countries’ trusted trader programs could see faster cargo processing at the shared border as soon as late 2014, Mexico’s customs chief said today.
Mexico is looking to give members of its trusted trader program, the New Certified Companies Scheme, or NEEC, and those in the U.S. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program special privileges, such as getting their trucks to the front of the line at border crossings, said Alejandro Chacon Dominguez, administrator general of customs.
Mutual recognition between the two trusted trader programs — which aim to reward users that can show customs agencies that their supply chains are secure with faster processing in return — would be implemented in early 2015 at the latest, he said at U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s annual East Coast Trade Symposium in Washington, D.C. NEEC has 335 members, and 60 more are on the path to join, Dominguez said. C-TPAT has roughly 10,500 members.
Mexico is adding a dedicated lane at the port of Manzanillo that will allow C-TPAT members to move cargo faster through the container gateway. Mexico already has a Free and Secure Trade program lane at the port of Veracruz. Mexico is also launching a pilot program that will extend the FAST lane on the Zaragoza Bridge, which connects El Paso to Ciudad Juarez. The nine existing U.S.-Mexico lanes handle about 41 percent of Mexican exports to U.S. by value and nearly one quarter of outbound volume to its northern neighbor, Dominguez said.
He said his agency and CBP continue to work together on a pilot that aims for faster processing of agricultural goods trucked into Mexico from Otay Mesa, Calif. Both agencies are also cooperating on a pre-inspection pilot that would speed up the shipments of Foxconn goods from San Jerónimo, Mexico, to Santa Teresa, N.M. The implementation of the latter has been held up over CBP’s reluctance to allow its agents to work across the border without firearms, as required by Mexican law, according to various sources familiar with the matter.
Mexico has begun the implementation of a single rail manifest for northbound shipments aimed at making it easier for shippers to meet the data requirements of both countries’ customs agencies. Mexican customs has also liberalized its processes through the passage of legislation in December that won’t require shippers to use a customs broker starting next year.