It is a pleasure and honor for me to be here today to mark this historic occasion.
While the strong cooperation between our two governments has been evident across many areas – from trade to security collaboration, with this event today, those strong government-to-government ties are even more obvious.
For the millions of U.S. and Mexican residents living and working across our 2000 mile border, making sure that it provides not only security, but also promotes commerce, is crucial.
Investments that revitalize roads and highways, border crossings, and the infrastructure facilities are really at the heart at what drives economic growth. For so many reasons improving border infrastructure is now more than ever, an important U.S. policy priority.
In 2014, after the United States government spent over $220 million, we inaugurated this state of the art facility at the Mariposa Port of Entry.Now we want to ensure that it reaches its full potential.Mexican government authorities have spent millions on infrastructure to improve Highway 15 that connects Mexico City with the border in Nogales.
Governor Ducey, I know in the last two years, you have also led Arizona by investing millions to modernize and ensure that your roads also take advantage of this connectivity.
While both governments have already invested a great deal of money on improvements, new programs are not always about money.
In August of this year, Customs and Border Protection and Mexican Customs launched this pilot program of Unified Cargo Inspection.
As you have heard, since then approximately a quarter of cargo trucks at Mariposa have benefitted from this new process, cutting wait times from over three hours to about 30 minutes.
Mexican officials are literally working side by side with U.S officials at the inspection booths for the Unified Process.
They are sharing notes, combining resources and making our trade not only more efficient, but more secure.
Agents from either U.S. or Mexican Customs have the ability to ask a truck to be further inspected, which ensures that illegal or dangerous cargo does not pass through the border. The successes have been proven.
One U.S. company reported that it saved an estimated $700,000 a month because of reduced time it takes to cross.
I know that saving will increase for companies exporting into Mexico because now “just-in-time” becomes even more of a reality.
With the proven success of this pilot project, CBP and Mexican Customs are now expanding their Unified Cargo Inspection to include south-bound vehicles as well.
This will mark the first time that unified inspections take place for both north and south bound traffic and highlights an important milestone in U.S.-Mexico collaboration.This is a huge win for both counties because it is a huge win for businesses.
Regulations and bureaucracies have been reduced. Security has been increased. Transit times have dropped dramatically. The end result is also major savings for companies and customers across both countries. I congratulate my colleagues for the success of this program and hope to be able to see it replicated across our border.