North America, as a trading bloc, now represents 26% of global GDP and increased trade between the three countries has continued to yield economic benefits for all. Indicative of the role that transnational value chains have played in these gains; the U.S. now initially adds 40% of the value of products imported from Mexico to the U.S. and 26% of those imported from Canada. More economists are recognizing that if the three North American countries deepen their integration and cooperation, they have the potential to improve the standards of living of their citizens and to shape world affairs for generations to come.
However, this growth in trade will have to be facilitated by three Customs agencies operating under ongoing budget constraints. To handle the continued trade expansion, the collective border management authorities must cooperate to find creative solutions. Recent U.S. bilateral initiatives such as “Beyond the Border” (with Canada) and “21st Century Border” (with Mexico); along with plans to introduce a North American “single window” customs system that eliminates multiple filings to streamline trade processes plans, will help further these trade relationships and facilitate partnerships between our neighbor economies.