Other speakers included members of U.S. Congress from the border area; current U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, Kevin McAleenan; former CBP Commissioner, Alan Bersin; former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Anthony Wayne; Attaché to the U.S. for the Mexican Finance Ministry and Customs Administration, Jose Martin Garcia; former President of the Mexican Customs Brokers Association (CAAAREM), Antonio Vidales; Director of Global Public Affairs for UPS, Maria Luisa Boyce, BorderWorks Advisor, Ben Rohrbaugh; and others.
Future of Port Management
Former CBP and White House Official, Ben Rohrbaugh, also speaking on this panel, discussed the need for careful planning of shared public-private border infrastructure projects, such as bridges and port facilities. This is especially critical as government budgets have gotten leaner and increased funding responsibility for customs processes has fallen on the private sector. However, as Mr. Gina pointed out, if a private entity is planning to recoup its investment in a new border facility through user fees, they’ll need to have some assurance of regular traffic flows for the coming years.
NAFTA and Other Panels:
However, panelists generally agreed that, in a renegotiated NAFTA, there is room for modernization of customs processes to build efficiency in inspections, better harmonize procedures among all agencies in addition to customs, and further engagement with the private sector in a more tri-lateral fashion.
Other panels included “21st Century Border Threats”, featuring former CBP Commissioner, Alan Bersin, who along with fellow panelists, including Wilson Center Deputy Director, Chris Wilson, discussed fluctuations in the U.S. labor market, U.S. immigration policies, and migration trends from Mexico. In the morning panel, three U.S. Congressman from the border region opened the event, moderated by Mexico Institute Director, Duncan Wood, discussing their concerns in representing the border region. Lou Correa (CA), Will Hurd (TX), and Henry Cuellar (TX) discussed the need for trade and cooperative border processes with Mexico that mutually benefit both economies.
The Wilson Center Mexico Institute frequently hosts many insightful events on cross-border trade and other issues pertaining to the United States’ important ally to the south. CT Strategies has been happy to participate in some of these events and hopes to continue to join other thought leaders on U.S.-Mexico relations again in the future.