Maintaining and expanding a competitive trade position is, and will be, in part, the product of Mexican Customs modernization in 2015 and beyond.
The government of Enrique Peña Nieto has prioritized Mexican Customs modernization in 2015. One example of the importance given to the goal of making Mexican Customs infrastructure more supportive of foreign trade is the Mexico’s commitment to finish modernizing upgrades to the Zaragosa-Ysleta bridge commercial border crossing that connects the commerce that flows between the Chihuahuan border city of Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, Texas this year. The Zaragosa-Ysleta commercial crossing is the third most transited on the US-Mexico border. It is projected that workunderway will be completed by November. Upgrades to be made to this important international trade conduit include:
- a fifty percent increase in inspection platforms, from ten to twenty;
- a sixty-six percent increase in import-export lanes; from one to three;
- a twenty-five percent increase in up-dated equipment used to process and store legally mandated commercial paperwork
- a consideration of the construction of lanes that will be dedicated for use only by companies that have been certified by Mexico’s NEEC program, and it’s US counterpart C-TPAT. Completion of such lanes will benefit the approximately 600 hundred maquiladora manufacturing plants that participate in these two trade security programs.
The work to be completed to push Mexican Customs modernization in 2015 forward is a part of an overall plan that had previously been developed to be carryed out by Mexican Customs in the 2013-2018 time frame. A bi-lateral trade flow between the Mexico and the United States that is now valued at approximately US $500 billion dollars annually is what has driven the need for the formulation and execution of such an initiative. The US’ NAFTA partner sees the completion of projects aimed at advancing Mexican Customs modernization as being critical to maintaining and improving the country’s competitive position with respect to international trade.
In addition to the upgrade of capabilities and facilities at the Zaragosa-Ysleta bridge crossing on the Chihuahua-Texas border, other infrastructure projects related to Mexican Customs modernizaton that are scheduled for prioritization and completion in 2015 include:
- the construction of new commercial border crossing bridge infrastructure at the Port of Guadalupe-Tornillo, which is located at the border of the Mexican State of Chihuahua and Fabens, Texas. In additon to completing the Mexican side of the US $3.5 million dollar structure, Mexican inspection facilities located at the foot of the bridge are due to be completed. According to Mexico’s Secretariat of Tax Administration (SAT) the investment in inspection facilities will carry a price tag of approximately US $36 million.
- the expansion of Mexican Customs presence in Ojinaga, Chihuahua. New facilities will be constructed to accommodate commercial, light vehicle and foot traffic.
- the upgrade of export staging areas in Mexicali will also be a priority. Infrasture capacity will be expanded significantly as a result of increasing the number of inspection platforms from four
- the refurbishment of the area dedicated to the crossing of commercial vehicle at Otay Mesa. The Otay Mesa Port of Entry is the second most important commercial land link between the US and Mexico. Athough work will continue on this project over the course of the next twelve month period, it is expected that this piece of the Mexican Customs modernization puzzle will be put in place during 2016. The total amount of the investment being made in the improvement of Otay Mesa Mexican Customs facilities will be US $4.9 million.
Additional work related to advancing Mexican Customs modernization efforts will be done at the Port of Palomas, which is on Mexico’s border with New Mexico; the border city of Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila; Reynosa, Tamaulipas; Nogales, Sonora; and Tecate, in the State of Baja, California.