Chairman Yoder Spearheads Bipartisan Delegation to Mexico City to Discuss Trade and Security
Washington, DC – Last week, Representative Kevin Yoder (KS-03) traveled to Mexico City, Mexico in his role as Chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. There, he received briefings from the State Department on security and trade issues, and participated in a roundtable discussion with the Border Trade Alliance (BTA) during the “Building a Competitive U.S.-Mexico Border” Annual Conference on what needs to be done to ensure the efficient flow of commerce across the Mexican border. Chairman Yoder was joined by Representatives Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Filemón Vela (D-TX), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan for a roundtable discussion with the U.S.-Mexico cross-border trade community on opportunities to make ports of entry more efficient, cross-border infrastructure improvements, and security challenges.
During the trip, Chairman Yoder emphasized the economic importance of trade between the U.S. and Mexico, as well as the vital role the Department of Homeland Security plays in facilitating safe and efficient exchange between the two countries. After meeting with American and Mexican government officials in Mexico City, he issued the following statement:
“A healthy trade relationship between the United States and Mexico is crucial for our respective economies, as well as for the economy of my home state of Kansas. As Chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, I understand the role that agencies under the Department of Homeland Security play in ensuring that this trade can move safely and efficiently. My briefings from the State Department and my conversations at the BTA roundtable helped me get a better picture of the benefits and challenges that currently surround our trade and border security situation.
“A key component in keeping our trade routes secure is the work done by the men and women of Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Every day, they ensure that goods traveling into our country from Mexico are safe, while also working efficiently to ensure that trade can flow quickly to its destinations. In my FY 2019 Homeland Security Appropriations bill, I included funding to hire over 500 new officers and over $300 million for non-intrusive inspection equipment and enhancements to the automated commercial environment to speed up the inspection process at our border. While CBP has struggled in the past few years to retain and hire new officers, I believe they are making improvements, and I stand ready to help them with any barriers that remain to retain and hire officers and agents. These additional CBP agents will also reduce opioid drug smuggling across our border and continue in our efforts to stop the opioid crisis and to save lives.
“Additionally, I was encouraged to see that recent trade talks between our countries include an agreement on the cargo pre-inspection program. Unified Cargo Processing is currently at seven ports of entry, but this will expand under the new agreement to more than a dozen locations During the BTA roundtable, I discussed these developments, and how they will promote further cooperation and information sharing to enable our countries to handle legitimate and safe shipments quickly while addressing those that pose risk. It is my hope that our two nations can continue to build on these agreements and further facilitate efficient trade.”
In 2017, Mexico was Kansas’s second largest export market, with Kansas exporting $1.88 billion in goods to Mexico. These exports included soybeans, wheat, corn, civilian aircraft, engines, beef, pork, basic chemicals, grain and oilseed milling products. Just a few days before Rep. Yoder’s trip, President Trump and President Peña Nieto announced that the United States and Mexico had reached an agreement in principle to update NAFTA. The United States remains committed to supporting Mexico’s efforts to strengthen the rule of law and address the challenge of public corruption.