After September 11, 2001, the United States took a different approach towards national security. In addition to increased airport security and communication monitoring, the U.S. government also turned its eye to another potential risk: international borders, including the one between Mexico and the United States. The focus on security, spearheaded by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) branch of the government, has led to an attempt to get businesses involved in improving the security of their crossborder shipments, via the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT).
C-TPAT is a voluntary program that is primarily comprised for companies operating in the U.S.; However for Mexican manufacturers the program is available by invitation only from the CBP. This outreach is driven from C-TPAT 3rd strategic goal which is to partner with the international trade community to secure global supply chain, as more North American companies are importing or doing business outside of the United States, such as manufacturing in Mexico.
For example, North American companies that do business with manufacturers in Mexico that are C-TPAT certified may see the following benefits:
Client goods are completely secured from the Mexican manufacturing plant to U.S. Customs
CBP provides priority inspections for its C-TPAT partners
Fewer CBP inspections me
an fewer border delays
Access to the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) process that expedites many crossborder shipments
According to Lawrence Wollschlager, C.O.O. of MFI International, “As a C-TPAT member, we ensure that our client’s materials and finished products are secure from the moment they leave our Juarez, Mexico manufacturing plant to U.S. Customs and to our El Paso plant.”
As the governments of the three countries continue to evolve their strategies on maintaining or increasing border security, it is imperative that companies looking for a manufacturer in Mexico validate their supply chain security programs, and fully understand the manufacturer’s commitment towards this effort.