Posts Tagged ‘Advisory Committees’


Innovative Customs Procedures in Laredo, Texas Accelerate U.S. Exports to Mexico

November 18, 2019

Last month, from October 16-17, industry leaders and officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) traveled to Laredo, Texas, one of the premier cities for U.S.-Mexico trade.

With over $100 billion in U.S. exports processed in 2018 alone, customs officials on both sides of the border face increasing demands to perform efficient and effective inspections. The Laredo International Airport has seized upon this growing commercial opportunity by innovating their customs process and establishing a unique bi-national inspection facility in 2013. ITA’s Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness (ACSCC) had the privilege of touring and learning more about this facility and its achievements over the past several years.

ACSCC-ITA oustide Laredo Airport Inspection Station 110819

Members of the ACSCC and ITA toured the Laredo airport’s Federal Inspection Station and met with U.S. and Mexican customs officials

 The Federal Inspection Station at the Laredo airport, the first of its kind, houses both U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Mexican customs officials (Servicio de Administración Tributaria, or SAT), who jointly perform inspection checks on U.S. exports within a single facility. With goods examined by both agencies in one location, U.S. exports can have expedited entry into airports in eight Mexican cities, allowing for uninterrupted delivery within Mexico. Cargo cleared at this facility can be immediately released to the importer in Mexico with no pauses at customs in these Mexican airports.

Elizabeth Merritt, Managing Director for Cargo Services at Airlines for America and ACSCC member, highlighted the importance of streamlined customs procedures to U.S. industries and value chains saying, “by leveraging a bilateral customs partnership, the Laredo airport boosts the competitiveness of the North American supply chain while maximizing the limited resources of all stakeholders to ensure trade compliance.”

The joint inspection process helps American companies avoid production delays by reducing the amount of time it takes to receive necessary parts and is especially critical for just-in-time deliveries. “Our largest trading partner in the United States is Mexico, so the ability to quickly clear expedited exports heading to that country is essential,” said Brandon Fried, Executive Director of The Airforwarders Association and member of the ACSCC.

Establishing this customs facility was no easy feat. Its creation required both a passage of a law in Mexico’s Congress of the Union and an amendment to the Mexican Constitution, but it was well worth the effort. Today, the Laredo International Airport features the only bi-national federal inspection station in the United States and is the only airport that has approval by the Mexican government to pre-inspect air cargo bound for delivery in Mexico.

Currently this accelerated customs treatment is available for products in the automotive,aerospace, and electronics industries. Importers, shippers, and other logistics companies can also benefit from round-the-clock service from the customs officials, as Laredo has the only airport on the southern border with U.S. customs open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

During their visit to the facility, members of the ACSCC, all experts in the policies and logistics surrounding U.S. supply chains, received a presentation on the Federal Inspection Station’s activities and spoke with both U.S. and Mexican customs officials to better understand their joint procedures.

“Witnessing the high level of cooperation and information sharing between the U.S. and Mexican customs authorities at the Laredo Airport Federal Inspection Station was an eye-opening experience, showing how such international joint efforts can streamline the border clearance process,” said Michal Mullen, Executive Director of the Express Association of America and ACSCC member. “The trade community has long desired to have this kind of international ‘single window’ operating on the border, and we hope the process will be expanded to more air and land crossing points in the near future.”

ACSCC member at Mexican and US border official 110819

ACSCC member Brandon Fried with a Mexican customs official and a U.S. CBP agent.

Mr. Fried also expressed hopes for the future activities of this bi-national facility saying, “my organization is pleased to see Mexican customs officials working alongside their CBP counterparts at Laredo International Airport. Their joint presence under the same roof enables easy preclearance on air export shipments destined for several manufacturing centers throughout Mexico. We look forward to the program’s continued success and hope to see similar arrangements at other U.S. airports in the future.”

Looking forward, the officials based at the Federal Inspection Station see room for growth, especially as approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) could lead to a surge in trade between the neighboring countries. CBP and SAT officials expressed their desire to grow awareness of their collaborative program and to expand the list of qualified products for inspection. Experts from the Laredo airport have already been invited to pilot similar programs at other airports in the United States, and customs agents believe the joint facility is prepared to handle greater volumes of U.S. exports in the future. This innovative, bi-national process can serve as a model to other ports and cities seeking to expedite inspections for the benefit of U.S. industry.


Meeting the Challenge of Supply Chain Infrastructure Competitiveness

December 7, 2011

With the recent announcement of a new advisory committee on supply chain competitiveness, the Department of Commerce is looking to work closely with U.S. industry to identify ways of improving the movement of goods.

Russell Adise is an international trade specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Manufacturing and Services unit.

An important step in assuring the integrity of U.S. supply chain infrastructure was taken on November 3, 2011, when Secretary of Commerce John Bryson and Francisco Sánchez, under secretary of commerce for international trade, announced the establishment of the Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness. Through this committee, the secretary of commerce will receive guidance and input from supply-chain firms and associations, stakeholders, community organizations, and others directly affected by the supply chain, as well as experts from academia, from throughout the United States on the development and administration of programs and policies to expand U.S. export growth and foster the competitiveness of U.S. supply chains in the domestic and global economy.

Bayonne, New Jersey port looking over New York City and the Statue of Liberty (photo courtesy istock/Janine Lamontagne

Bayonne, New Jersey port looking over New York City and the Statue of Liberty (photo courtesy istock/Janine Lamontagne)

Crucial Link in Trade

U.S. supply chains are a crucial link between the country’s exporters and the global economy. Every export, and every export-related job, is dependent on the operations and processes that comprise the nation’s supply chains, from material sourcing, to product manufacturing, to consumer delivery. U.S. export competitiveness depends on the smooth, seamless, and rapid movement of goods through the supply chains from beginning to end. Any chokepoint can result in missed exports, lost sales, higher costs, and lost jobs.

The declining state of U.S. infrastructure has become an increasing challenge to exporters. Systemic, long-term infrastructure deficiencies have a dramatic, negative impact on the speed and predictability of the movements of goods around the country. Shippers blame this situation on the lack of a comprehensive national freight infrastructure development and investment policy. They also assert that the United States is not improving its infrastructure fast enough to keep pace with the export demands of 21st century supply chains.

These infrastructure deficiencies pose challenges not only to individual exporters, but also to the success of the National Export Initiative, a federal initiative established by President Barack Obama in 2010 to achieve his goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014.

Regional Outreach

The advisory committee is a key piece of a larger Department effort to address the challenges of supply chain infrastructure, organized by the International Trade Administration’s Office of Service Industries, a part of ITA’s Manufacturing and Services unit. In 2010, ITA spearheaded the creation of the Competitive Supply Chain Infrastructure Initiative. This brings together federal and private-sector stakeholders to develop policies that will improve the efficiency and connectivity of U.S. supply chain infrastructure. As part of the initiative, then-Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood signed a memorandum of understanding in April 2010.  It committed the two agencies to undertake a series of freight stakeholder outreach forums. Since September 2010, five such events have been held throughout the country: in Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; San Diego, California; Kansas City, Missouri; and Seattle, Washington. These have allowed the two federal agencies to widen their knowledge of each region’s top freight infrastructure issues. Additional events are planned for 2012.

How to Apply

U.S. citizens engaged in international trade or supply chain competitiveness issues are eligible to apply to be members of the new Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness. Nominations must be received by December 14, 2011. For more information, see the notice published in the Federal Register at 76 FR 68159 or contact Richard Boll of the International Trade Administration, tel. (202) 482-1135; e-mail:


Winning The Future – Together

March 31, 2011

Mike Masserman is the director of the Office of Advisory Committees and oversees the President’s Export Council, the Manufacturing Council and 18 other advisory committees.

Greetings from the Local 597 pipefitters training facility outside of Chicago where I’m joined by leaders from labor, academia, business and government to talk about trade, jobs and the 21st century American workforce.  Specifically, we’re here for a President’s Export Council (PEC) Workforce Readiness summit hosted by William Hite, General President of the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters, Sprinklerfitters and HVAC/R Service Technicians.  The purpose of this session is to discuss how America’s workforce can increasingly become an enabling factor in meeting the President’s goal of the National Export Initiative to double our nation’s exports over the next few years supporting millions of jobs.  We’ll be looking at initiatives that can be scaled up nationally and will focus on a number of areas including apprenticeship programs, the crucial role of community colleges and reaching underserviced parts of the workforce.  Other advisory committees, like the Manufacturing Council are working on similar issues so please be on the lookout for future updates on their recommendations.  We look forward to more opportunities where the public and private sector come together to figure out new and innovative ways to create the jobs of tomorrow and further strengthen the American economy.