On Thursday, April 11, the U.S.-Mexico 21st Century Border Management Executive Steering Committee (ESC) met at the Department of State to discuss their shared interest in creating a border that promotes economic competitiveness and enhances security through the secure, efficient, rapid, and lawful movement of goods and people. The Steering Committee approved a report summarizing the Actions completed during 2012, and adopted Action Items for 2013. This was the first meeting of the ESC under the Pena Nieto Administration.
The Governments of the United States and the United Mexican States reiterated their commitment to fundamentally restructure the way both countries manage their shared border. This new approach to border management is designed to increase economic competitiveness, enhance public safety, welcome lawful visitors, encourage trade, strengthen cultural ties, reduce the cost of doing business in North America, steward our shared resources, and promote economic development.
For 2013, the ESC -- which on the U.S. side includes representatives from the Departments of Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, State, Transportation, and Treasury -- together with their Mexican Government partners, committed to work in three areas: infrastructure, secure flows, and law enforcement and security cooperation.
In the area of infrastructure, the ESC agreed on the importance of coordinated infrastructure planning and the use of public-private partnerships and other innovative arrangements to support border travel and trade. Under secure flows, the ESC agreed on the benefits of expanding participants in and use of trusted traveler and shipper programs, continuing to implement pre-screening of commercial goods and travelers, identifying strategies to reduce border wait times, and exploring the use of technology towards the development of an entry/exit data exchange capability. The ESC also discussed our shared responsibility in securing our borders, including our continued efforts towards implementing the Border Violence Prevention Protocols, as well as strategies to identify, disrupt, and dismantle criminal networks engaged in trafficking and smuggling of drugs, weapons, money and people. The ESC proposed and adopted concrete objectives to achieve these goals, and agreed to continue regular engagement to monitor and promote joint progress in achieving these goals.
The Committee agreed on the importance of stakeholder input to the process through vigorous outreach, including hosting roundtables and meetings at the border as well as in interior U.S. and Mexican states where the U.S.-Mexico relationship and the border play a critical role to trade and exports.