U.S., Mexico launching joint cargo inspection pilot program in Southern California

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U.S. Customs and its Mexican counterpart are eliminating separate inspections at the cargo facility south of San Diego on the US-Mexico border.

   U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) says that it plans to partner with Mexico’s Servício de Administración Tributaria (SAT) and begin conducting joint cargo inspections at Customs’ Otay Mesa Cargo Facility next month.
   Under the Unified Cargo Processing pilot program, Customs and SAT will eliminate separate inspections at the Otay Mesa Cargo Facility, located south of San Diego on the US-Mexico border, thereby reducing wait times.
   The pilot program, which has already been implemented in other parts of the US, is expected to be launched at Otay Mesa sometime in October for participants in Free and Secure Trade (FAST), a commercial clearance program for known low-risk shipments entering the United States from Canada and Mexico.
   “It is envisioned that the program will aid in the reduction of wait times and create more efficient inspections that will lower the cost of doing business in the region,” Customs & Border Protection explained in a Sept. 20 statement. “It will also enhance national security for both countries demonstrating both the United States’ and Mexico’s shared commitment in facilitating cross-border commerce.”
   Pete Flores, director of field operations for CBP in San Diego, said he envisioned that the program would help enhance America’s global economic competitiveness by enabling legitimate trade and travel, and that the pilot program would “provide a more efficient inspection process while upholding our mission to protect the borders.”
   The tentative hours of operation for the program are set for 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from; and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
   The joint Unified Cargo Processing Pilot Program originated in Nogales, Arizona in July, 2016 and is currently implemented at five locations across the U.S., with plans to expand elsewhere, according to Customs.

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