Ridge Joins Donohue in Declaring ‘Commitment to Improving U.S–Mexico Border’
WASHINGTON, D.C.—At a press roundtable today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a report outlining recommendations to make enhancements to trade and security mutually supportive along the U.S.-Mexico border. Steps to a 21st Century U.S.-Mexico Border makes a series of proposals addressing trade facilitation, supply-chain security, infrastructure, immigration, and travel issues that define the border and determine its efficiency.
“How we manage the U.S.-Mexico border is essential to our commercial partnership, security, supply chains, economies, and ultimately, jobs for our citizens,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber. “This relationship is too significant to allow delays and other inefficiencies at the border that erode the competitive advantage that NAFTA created.”
To release today’s report, Donohue was joined by Tom Ridge, the chairman of the U.S. Chamber’s National Security Task Force and the former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and Ann Beauchesne, vice president for the Chamber’s Office of National Security and Emergency Preparedness. The report details a series of steps we must take to create a modern and efficient 21st century U.S. – Mexico border:
- We must focus on security, but trade facilitation and security should be viewed as mutually conducive. No factor is more fundamental to future investment, economic growth and job creation than security and the rule of law. We must increase the investment in the Merida Initiative, a U.S.-sponsored $1.6 billion multi-year partnership with Mexico to address criminal organizations, and view the private sector as a partner in achieving the goals of the initiative.
- We must facilitate the flow of trade at the border. We must better employ technology to manage congestion; allow shippers to participate in trusted shipper programs; grow staffing at the port of entry and government agencies should commit to measure border wait times and track them with benchmarks and defined goals.
- We need to significantly invest in infrastructure. It’s essential we add capacity at ports and land crossings. We need to increase the number of lanes at border crossings and create more dedicated lanes for commercial traffic. Public investment can help supplement federal, state, and local dollars.
- We need to pursue immigration reform. Immigration reform could help substantially alleviate the strain on our border, while adding to the economic vitality of our country. History shows an increase in the number of legal immigrants and temporary guest workers means a decrease in illegal immigration.
“The Chamber is committed to advance the recommendations in this report and we remain committed to working with the governments of Mexico and the United States to make our vision for a world-class border a reality once and for all,” Donohue said.
From Mexico, American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico President José Zozaya, added, “It is our hope that this joint border report will contribute to the ability of our governments, working with the private sector and other stakeholders, to overcome these challenges and make the most of our shared opportunities. We look forward to working with all parties in both countries who share this vision and these goals.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.
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