Public Comment Opportunity for NAFTA Negotiations

On May 18th, the Administration formally notified Congress of its intent to commence negotiations with Canada and Mexico with respect to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As stipulated by the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA), this notification triggers a 90-day period before negotiations with Canada and Mexico can begin (no earlier than August 16th, 2017).
As part of this process – and in an effort to hear from you – the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has published a Federal Register Notice (FRN) soliciting public comments on the Agreement – which will assist the Administration in identifying its negotiating priorities. We encourage you to share the link and submit comments.

The FRN comment period will be open through June 12th, 2017. To submit comments, or to request to participate in a public hearing on June 27th at the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, DC, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

 

Make your voice heard regarding this important trade policy update.

Trade Related Executive Orders Published by the White House

On April 29, the White House published two executive orders impacting trade policies:

A) The first one establishes a new “Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy.”

B) The second one mandates performance reviews of existing U.S. trade agreements by the Secretary of Commerce and the United States Trade Representative (USTR), in consultation with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Attorney General, and the Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy.

“The findings of the performance reviews shall help guide United States trade policy and trade negotiations. The Secretary of Commerce, the USTR, and other heads of executive departments and agencies, as appropriate, shall take every appropriate and lawful action to address violations of trade law, abuses of trade law, or instances of unfair treatment. Each performance review shall be submitted to the President by the Secretary of Commerce and the USTR within 180 days of the date of this order.”

Click here to read the Executive Order

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On a related note, Trump trade officials apparently prefer a tri-lateral NAFTA deal 
Click here for related Reuters article

Changes to Northbound Pedestrian Crossing at San Ysidro this Monday (05/22)

Starting this Monday, May 22nd, pedestrian Northbound crossing at San Ysidro will temporarily move to the Milo building and will offer greater capacity (8 lanes). This will allow for repairs and remodeling at the Historic Customs House. The Southbound pedestrian crossing at San Ysidro will not have any changes.

Click here for the official notice in Spanish

Otay Mesa Chamber Advocating in Mexico City

Otay Mesa Chamber President Lalo Acosta and Board Member Patty Alvarez joined the San Diego Regional Chamber Mexico City Delegation trip to advocate for the many important projects pertinent to our Otay Mesa community. Word is Mexico is ready and well positioned to review and upgrade NAFTA.

INAMI, the Mexican Agency responsible for immigration issues and work permits, announced important changes to the FMM card, which US citizens need to file to visit Mexico (for business or pleasure). The major change is that the 180-day FMM card can now be officially used for multiple entries; You can apply for the FMM online through the following link.

New FMCSA Mandate for Truckers could have Major Impact in Border Region

New FMCSA Mandate for Truckers could have Major Impact in Border Region
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is requiring all truckers working in the US, the use of electronic logging devices instead of paper logs. These electronic devices start registering how many hours a driver operates a truck from the moment the engine is started. Paper logs are somewhat more subjective because wait times at the ports of entry can be long and underestimated, meaning truckers may have to hire additional drivers to complete their trips or delay cargo delivery until the next day. FMCSA has training webinars on this subject available here.

NAFTA Conference Take Aways

Kudos to UCSD’s Center for US-Mexico Studies for putting together a wonderful conference on Monday. Here are some interesting facts shared at the conference:

Denise Ducheny has suggested that a rebranding of NAFTA might help : “North American Co-Production Agreement”

Russel Jones, Chairman of the Border Trade Alliance:

25% of the 20 million trade jobs in the US are related to Mexico
Half of the states in the US list Mexico as their number one trading partner- (Canada is second)
The other half lists Canada as their number one trading partner – (Mexico is second)

Here is a link from “Comercio Exterior” magazine with several interesting US-Mexico trade related articles.

“Every 100 new hires in Mexico from US companies, generates 300 new jobs in the US” – Lindsay Oldenski – (see her full report in the Comercio Exterior link)

 

Mexican Customs’ Modernization Plan

The Otay Mesa Port of Entry will be one of the first land ports of entry to be used as a pilot for the PITA program. This state of the art system will basically automate cargo customs clearance through a paperless and human-less process. As trucks pass through lanes of inspection, RFID technology connected to the risk management system will analyze the merchandise info and let the truck driver know if it needs to be sent to secondary inspection through a message displayed in a screen.

No booths or inspectors will be at the lanes of inspection and the system will be managed through a central computer system within Mexican Customs. Partial implementation will be in place in Tijuana, as early as June 2017.

What is PITA? – (Article in Spanish)

TijuaNotas Article – (In Spanish)

Nationwide Pilot for New Cargo Clearance/Inspections Program to begin in Tijuana

The Mexican agency, SAT, has announced that Tijuana will be the nationwide pilot for the PITA program, a cargo, vehicle and video surveillance program that will replace all other SAT systems including SIAVE. The new system is expected to dramatically speed up cargo processing times and will include non-manned booths that are geared up with RFID technology and paperless systems at the Mexican import facility at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. SIAVE is the system currently being used to “inspect” southbound vehicles. SAT is also launching DODA-QR, which will be mandatory in May of this year and will serve as temporary program, while PITA is transitioned in. DODA-QR is a one-paper system where multiple “pedimentos” can be included through a QR code. A detailed presentation will be available in the next few weeks.