Joint Cargo Clearance, the next step in Customs Clearance
On July 25, 2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced an innovative concept in which CBP and the Servicio de Administración Tributaria (SAT), the Mexican tax administration service, will perform joint cargo clearance and examinations at the U.S. Customs Port of Nogales, Arizona for 120 days. By conducting joint cargo processing, CBP and SAT will reduce cargo inspections and wait-times at the border. These reduced wait-times will lower the cost of doing business in the region, as well as, enhance national security for the United States and Mexico.
The announcement came as an invitation for manufacturing companies currently certified in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) to try the pilot program which is expanding to additional Ports of Entry. To participate, both the manufacturing company and its transportation partner must be approved to use the “FAST LANE”. Additionally, the manufacturing company must register for the pilot program with the Consejo Nacional de la Industria Maquiladora y Manufacturera de Exportacion (INDEX), the Mexican National Council for the Free Trade Manufacturing and Export Industry, which is tasked with monitoring participation and results.
The program can be seen as an incentive for companies which are currently not participating in C-TPAT or the equivalent Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programs to support a perimeter approach to security and experience added benefits. It is also another step towards mutual recognition and acceptance of trusted trader programs while the U.S. pursues the implementation of the International Trade Data System (ITDS). ITDS, a system which will allows international traders to submit documents required by CBP and its partner government agencies through a “single window.”
The future of customs clearance looks promising as collaborative, intergovernmental programs are established that are designed to address security threats while allowing for the streamlined movement of goods and people across a shared border.