US, Mexico expand joint cargo inspections at border

Washington, Dec 14 (IANS) Government representatives of the United States and Mexico have announced the expansion of a pilot programme for the joint inspection of cargo trucks at the border in order to save businesses costly time at the Nogales-Arizona crossing.

The innovative programme, the only one of its kind on the Mexico border, allows US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials and Mexican customs agents to inspect truck cargoes simultaneously at the Nogales point of entry, reports Efe.

Cooperation between the two countries is essential to keep building the trade relations which are so vital to the economy of the region, US ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson told a press conference on Tuesday in Nogales.

For his part, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said the crossing is vital for the economy of the state of Arizona.

The project, which aims to eliminate the long wait times for cargo trucks at the border crossing, began its first phase in July 2015 for trucks headed north, but now as part of the expansion it will also include southbound transport.

The pilot programme is available only for vehicles belonging to a special anti-terrorism programme that allows them to pass through accelerated inspections.

Some 750,000 cargo trucks a year cross the Arizona-Mexico border and more than 85 per cent make the trip through the Mariposa crossing at Nogales.