Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute holds forum on “Building a Competitive U.S.-Mexico Border”

On June 14, 2017, the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute brought together public and private sector officials to discuss enhancing and improving operations at the U.S.-Mexico border. Prominent government officials from both countries were present including: Mexican Ambassador to the U.S., Geronimo Gutierrez, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner, Kevin McAleenan, former CBP Commissioner, Alan Bersin, Arizona Governor, Doug Ducey, and U.S. Congressman, Henry Cuellar (TX).  Additionally, leading private sector and Non-Government Organization officials attended including: Border Trade Alliance Chairman Russell Jones, Kansas City Southern Railroad Chief Executive Officer, Patrick Ottensmeyer, and Werner Enterprises’ President, Derek Leathers. Both Mr. Ottensmeyer and Mr. Leathers agreed the U.S. needs investment in technology and infrastructure along the border.Mr. Ottensmeyer also advocated for collaboration by border management authorities to facilitate the movement of cargo across the border. The event was filled with a series of panels discussing all aspects of the border including: inter- and intra-industry cross-border trade operations, security operations, and port and between-the-port operations.

Aside from operations at the border, officials at the event discussed the importance of aligning U.S. and Mexican Government strategic goals. Congressman Cuellar discussed the favorable security benefits derived from improving Mexican prosperity and security. Along these lines, he discussed the U.S. aiding Mexican operations along its southern border. Similarly, Governor Ducey explained the integral day-to-day relationship between Mexico and the U.S., from the familial connections across borders to the deep trade connections many U.S. states share directly with Mexico. Additionally, Ambassador Gutierrez also discussed developing a mechanism whereby U.S. and Mexican Customs authorities produce a non-legally binding shared assessment of operations at the U.S. borders. Per the Ambassador, the shared assessment would be an exercise that brings forward the shared interests and issues both nations face at the border, which can lead to mutually beneficial initiatives.

To watch a recording of the event and for more information, please visit the Mexico Institute