CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan and Chief of Mexico Tax Administration Service Osvaldo Santin sign a Memorandum of Understanding on cargo processing in Mexico City on March 26, 2018. (DHS Official Photo/Jetta Disco)

CBP, Mexico Ink Agreements on Trade, Inspections During Nielsen Trip

On a wide-ranging trip to Mexico City culminating in a meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen signed agreements with her south-of-the-border counterparts on trade, border screenings and intercepting illegal activity.

In separate bilateral meetings Monday with Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis Videgaray Caso and Secretary of Interior Alfonso Navarrete Prida, Nielsen “discussed a range of national security issues including the importance and success of joint operations at the border, such as increased seizures, and improved information sharing,” according to DHS.

“They also discussed the need for infrastructure improvements along the border to speed legitimate trade and travel. This included their shared commitment to cross border economic prosperity,” the DHS statement continued. “Both sides expressed concerns with migration flows including those caused by the collapse of the Venezuelan economy and its impact in the region. The partners shared their mutual desire to confront transnational criminal organizations and money laundering. Lastly, both sides reiterated their long-held respect for the human rights of migrants.”

DHS called the “strong relationship” between the U.S. and Mexico, as well as “the safe and efficient crossing of goods… critical to the economic success of both countries.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan and Mexico’s Tax Administration Service (SAT) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) on Customs and Trade Enforcement to “facilitate the development and implementation of joint and coordinated programs aimed at increasing trade and customs compliance, as well as combating illicit activities.”

CBP and SAT also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cargo Pre-Inspection Program and Unified Cargo Processing (UCP) stating “the bilateral commitment for the further implementation of cargo-pre inspection and UCP programs, through which Mexican customs officers and CBP officers will work together to inspect and process cargo shipments.”

CBP and the National Service for Agro-Alimentary Public Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA) signed an MOU to “enable collaboration between the two agencies on agriculture safeguarding, agriculture quarantine inspections at ports of entry, and information sharing,” according to DHS. “The MOU promotes cooperation and information sharing to enabling the U.S. to handle legitimate and safe shipments while addressing those that pose a risk.”

In a readout of the meeting with Peña Nieto, DHS said the president and Nielsen “discussed their efforts to improve border security through close collaboration” and “focused on ways to facilitate more secure trade and travel between the two countries.”

Nielsen discussed “working with Mexican counterparts to combat transnational crime affecting both the United States and Mexico” and “stressed the importance of the partnership between the United States and Mexico – particularly via intelligence sharing – and thanked the Mexican president for helping to foster a close partnership with the department during his administration,” DHS said.

Nielsen, who wrapped up her trip today, also met with U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson.

Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a weekly columnist for the New York Observer and a senior fellow specializing in terrorism analysis at the Haym Salomon Center. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and Washington Bureau Chief for PJ Media. She is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera and SiriusXM.

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