Magazine article The Small Business Advocate

Advocacy Staff Tours U.S.-Mexico Commercial Border Crossing Facility

Magazine article The Small Business Advocate

Advocacy Staff Tours U.S.-Mexico Commercial Border Crossing Facility

Article excerpt

As part of its recent regional symposium in San Diego, staff from the Office of Advocacy had the opportunity to visit the U.S.-Mexico border to observe the commercial inspection operations at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other federal agencies. Advocacy staff wanted to get a up-close look at the challenges some small businesses face when importing and exporting their products.

Hundreds and hundreds of commercial trucks lined up at the inspection station waiting to cross into the U.S. loaded with everything from fresh produce to consumer goods, electronics, apparel, pick-up trucks, and more.

According to CBP, the Otay Mesa Port of Entry is one of three ports of entry (POE) in the San DiegoTijuana metropolitan region. The port of entry is the third-busiest commercial port of entry on the U.SMexico border in terms of the dollar value of trade (after Laredo-Nuevo Laredo and El Paso-Ciudad Juárez in Texas). Commercial imports through Otay Mesa are valued at some $30 billion each year. Advocacy staff toured the commercial operations area, but there is also a passenger vehicle and pedestrian crossing point in a separate location at the facility.

Advocacy's tour was led by the CBP duty officer in charge, who explained that the Otay Mesa facility opened in 1983 and handles over 2,000 commercial trucks per day - that is, roughly 730,000 trucks annually. While only a small percent (approximately three percent) of trucks passing through the facility are personally inspected, each truck passes through a series of radiological sensors, visual observations, and document inspections. …

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