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Mexico; United States: Agreement on Customs Security

(Oct. 30, 2014) In October 2014, customs authorities from the United States and Mexico signed an agreement to mutually recognize two customs security programs that are currently in place in the two countries, with the goal of creating a common structure aimed at streamlining and securing cargo trade. The two programs are the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and its Mexican counterpart, known as the New Certified Companies Scheme (Nuevo Esquema de Empresas Certificadas, or NEEC). (Press Release, CBP, U.S., Mexico Sign Mutual Recognition Arrangement (Oct. 17, 2014).)

C-TPAT and NEEC are voluntary business-government programs whose goal is to foster cooperation between the public and private sectors by establishing requirements that participants in supply chains (including carriers, manufacturers, importers, and customs brokers) agree to meet in exchange for benefits such as a simplified cargo processing. (Id. See also C-TPAT: Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, CBP website (last visited Oct. 28, 2014); Nuevo esquema de empresas certificadas (NEEC), Servicio de Administración Tributaria [Mexico’s Revenue Service] website (last visited Oct. 28, 2014).)

According to a press release issued by the CBP, the mutual recognition agreement between Mexico and the United States will provide important benefits, including fewer inspections and a simplified approval process for cargo, which will reduce processing times for cargo trucks at the U.S.-Mexico border. (U.S., Mexico Sign Mutual Recognition Arrangement, supra; Press Release, Embassy of the United States in Mexico, Mexico and U.S. Meet to Advance Expedited Transit of Persons and Goods Across the Border Through Improved Border Security (Oct. 22, 2014).)

Mexico is the ninth country that has reached a mutual recognition agreement of this kind with the United States. The previous arrangements are with Canada, the European Union, Israel, Japan, Jordan, New Zealand, South Korea, and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office. (U.S., Mexico Sign Mutual Recognition Arrangement, supra.)