U.S. Customs and Border Protection finalized five public-private partnership agreements that allow private reimbursement for enhanced CBP services that support growth in cross-border trade and travel.
“Our ability to transform what we do at the borders depends on strong buy-in from our private-sector stakeholders,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Thomas S. Winkowski at a signing ceremony held Dec. 19 at CBP’s Washington, D.C. headquarters. “We’ve developed a comprehensive strategy to optimize our resources at our ports of entry. We will work closely with our private-sector partners on every opportunity to enhance services.”
The March 2013 federal continuing appropriations act enabled CBP to create by Dec. 31, 2013, up to five reimbursable fee programs not to exceed a five-year timeframe. These agreements will not replace existing services, and reimbursable services can include all customs and immigration inspection-related matters.
The entities selected for these partnerships cover CBP air, land and sea operations:
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport;
- The City of El Paso, Texas;
- South Texas Assets Consortium;
- The City of Houston Airport System; and
- Miami-Dade County.
Each agreement outlines a measurable benefit and CBP plans “a rigorous set of metrics that will demonstrate the impact the services are having,” said Winkowski. “By responding to increasing volumes of trade and travel, and working collaboratively with stakeholders in all environments, we are better able to support the growth that is vital to our economy.”
During the ceremony, the private sector representatives credited CBP for its commitment to progress. “You’ve shown how important this is to CBP,” said Oscar Leeser, mayor of El Paso, Texas.
This program will help demonstrate that “you can’t build a car in Detroit without considering what happens in McAllen and Reynosa,” said James Darling, mayor of McAllen, Texas, which is across the border from Reynosa, Mexico, and its many factories. Juan Kuryla, representing the Miami Seaport, added that CBP has “the gratitude of the cargo industry” for the new reimbursement program.
“It would’ve been easy for CBP to stay with the status quo,” said Byford Treanor, vice president of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, “but this really is moving forward.”
“Anything that helps CBP helps us,” said Emilio T. Gonzalez, director of the Miami-Dade, Fla., Aviation Department.
CBP reviewed all proposals submitted for the private-sector reimbursable services pilot program based on their CBP operational impact, health and safety issues, community and economic benefits, and other factors.
The reimbursable services authority is a key component of CBP’s Resource Optimization Strategy.