Although the capability exists today with six foreign trading partners, US Customs air preclearance in Mexico is, for the time being, in the future.
At the outset of the current year, the United States set a goal to expand the number of foreign airports at which US Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) has an established operational presence to preclear commercial cargo.
In order to accomplish this the USCBP is working in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security. According to the DHS, “Through preclearance, the same immigration, customs, and agricultural inspections that are performed on arrival in the United States” can be conducted prior to aircraft departure. This of course, will positively affect that speed at which trade by air is transacted. This will benefit both manufacturers and consumers of products.
Currently the US Customs preclearance facilities are operational in Abu Dhabi, Aruba, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Canada and Ireland. US Customs preclearance in Mexico, and vice versa, is an issue on which both Mexico and the United States are negotiating at the highest levels of government. The administration of Mexican president, Enrique Nieto Peña, is currently awaiting a response to its request that the nation’s Congress grant US Customs and Border Protection agents the permission to carry sidearms on Mexican soil. Should this condition be met with favor by Mexican lawmakers. US Customs air preclearance can be immediately begun to be established at Mexican airports.
Although there have been Mexican Customs facilities in the South Texas airport of Laredo since 2012, which were build at a cost of US $3.3 million, an “official” opening has not occurred pending a resolution of sidearm issue delaying US Customs preclearance in Mexico. In spite of not being formally open, the Mexican Customs staff installed at the Laredo airport processes thirty cargo flights a day. Airports in the interior of Mexico that have been given the green light to receive precleared cargo from Laredo include:
- Tlajomulco de Zuñiga
- Silao, Guanajuato
As is the case Canada and the other trading partners with whom bi-lateral preclearance agreements have been implemented, the US Department of Homeland Security will evaluate and prioritize a potential list of sites at which to implement US Customs air preclearance in Mexico in the near future.