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Press Releases 07

SENTRI and FAST Lanes Help Business, Tourism and Security

Statement by Ambassador Antonio O. Garza

Amb. Garza and other dignataries flag the opening of the FAST lane
Ambassador Garza and other dignataries flag the opening of the FAST lane on the Colombia-Solidarity bridge.

Mexico City, December 4, 2007 - “Today I was pleased to inaugurate, together with the Mexican Ambassador to the United States Arturo Sarukhan, Administrator General Juan Jose Moises Bravo of the Mexican Customs Agency, Nuevo Leon Governor José Natividad González Parás, and Thomas Winkowski, Assistant Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, two new lanes to expedite the travel of pre-cleared people and shipping of goods across the busy Mexico-U.S. border. These will help expedite tourism and commerce, the lifeblood of our border region, while enhancing security for our citizens on both sides.

“On Hidalgo International Bridge in Hidalgo, Texas, we inaugurated a new Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection lane, known by the initials SENTRI. This lane is reserved for the use of pre-cleared low-risk travelers who have registered with the SENTRI system. Each day, over 1000 people use the SENTRI lane at Hidalgo International Bridge to visit family and conduct business.

“The SENTRI system has been in use since 1995, and with the addition of the Hidalgo International Bridge, there are now eight border crossings that use it to prescreen travelers, reduce processing time, and shorten waiting time at border crossings. Its success is only possible because of a combination of advanced automated technology and close cooperation between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials.

(Full text of Ambassador's remarks)

“We also inaugurated the Free and Secure Trade lane, known as a FAST lane, on the Colombia-Solidarity Bridge between Nuevo Leon and Laredo/Webb County. The FAST program is a Border Accord Initiative between the United States, Mexico, and Canada that ensures security and safety while facilitating trade. With the inclusion of Laredo, this program is currently used at seven border crossings between Mexico and the United States. The FAST lane at Colombia-Solidarity Bridge is the second FAST lane for Laredo, the largest commercial inland port on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Through FAST, Mexico, Canada and the United States have increased coordination of their processes for clearance of commercial shipments at the border. Companies wishing to participate in the program are screened for eligibility and must provide advance notice of their plans to cross the border. Participating trucks then have a seamless northbound crossing.

(Full text of Ambassador's remarks)

“Both the SENTRI program and the FAST lanes are excellent examples of cross-border cooperation that improves the lives of people on both sides of the border by minimizing the delays for individuals and companies to get where they need to go and to improve businesses and lives.”

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