Border Trade Alliance applauds bipartisan Senate introduction of port of entry assessment bill

Senators Cornyn and Peters introduce Senate companion to House bill that calls on DHS to prepare assessment of needs at ports of entry

WASHINGTON (December 6, 2018) – The Border Trade Alliance today applauded U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) for their introduction of legislation that calls on the Department of Homeland Security to prepare a strategy and implementation plan focused on the nation’s ports of entry.

According to the bill, DHS would be required to examine ways to reduce wait times at U.S. ports of entry, as well as perform an assessment of Customs and Border Protection staffing requirements for U.S. ports.

The bill is a companion to H.R. 6400, the United States Ports of Entry Threat and Operational Review Act, which was introduced by Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) in July.

“The issues addressed by this legislation are critical,” BTA Chair Paola Avila said. “Reduced wait times increase the competitiveness of our economy by reducing costs on shippers, which are ultimately passed on to consumers. One of the most effective ways to reduce wait times is to ensure that staffing levels at a port are commensurate with the location’s trade volumes. The trade community appreciates both Senators Cornyn and Peters for working in a bipartisan manner on this important legislation.”

The Senate bill also contains language important to the cross-border produce trade community. The legislation directs DHS to determine whether improvements necessary to meet food safety standards are required during the more in-depth secondary inspections of produce that take place at ports of entry.

“Senators Cornyn and Peters listened to the trade community about our desire that DHS take a close look at whether improvement are needed to the produce inspection process in order to meet food safety standards,” BTA President Britton Clarke said. “We look forward to working with the senators to ensure that the produce inspection language is reflected in the bill version that is ultimately adopted by Congress and sent to the President’s desk.”

For over 30 years, the BTA has promoted public policy that improves cross-border commerce while ensuring security at and between our ports of entry. The organization represents both public and private sector entities.

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