“New Vision for Trade along the U.S. Mexican Border”

A Proposal for a Border Demonstration Project to Establish

Secure Manufacturing Zones


Table of Contents

I. Executive Summary

II. The Purpose

III. The Background

IV. Essential Elements of a New Border Trade System

V. The Proposal: A New Border Trade System


Secure Manufacturing Zones

  • Point of Origin Clearance
  • Hemispheric Security

Supply Chain Visibility

  • Intelligent Software Agents (a best practice)
  • Intelligence Sharing and Multi-Agency Collaboration; Interoperability for Emergency Response and Public Safety

Integration into High Priority Corridors

  • Trade Corridors
  • An Emerging Rail System

Energy, Environment and Health

VI. United States-Mexico Border Trade Demonstration Project

VII. Proposed Demonstration Project Budget

VIII. Bibliography


This demonstration project proposal was prepared by the Border Quality Campaign of El Paso del Norte, Holguin Group/EPV Group, the Idaho National Laboratory and Ruby Mountain Inc. in cooperation with the Border Legislative Conference. The proposal was adopted by the Border Legislative Conference on December 9, 2005 in El Paso, Texas.

The producers of this document wish to thank Texas State Senator Eliot Shapleigh, Mexican Federal Senator Jeffrey Jones, Katherine Saunders of the Office of Texas State Senator Eliot Shapleigh, as well as Kent Briggs and Edgar Ruiz of The Council of State Governments-West.

I. Executive Summary



On December 9, 2005 the members of the Border Legislative Conference (BLC) unanimously adopted the “New Border Trade System Proposal” during the 12 th BLC in El Paso, Texas. The New Border Trade Proposal, a component of the BLC’s ongoing development of a Border 2020: Secure-Fast-Smart Strategy, is aimed at developing an integrated, systematic approach to enhance border security and economic competitiveness along the U.S. – Mexico border region utilizing new technologies and establishing innovative government – private sector partnerships.

Key Component: Development of Secure Manufacturing Zones along the Border

The proposal recommends the funding of an initial demonstration project at key border ports of entry and vital trade corridors along the U.S. – Mexico border to establish a series of Secure Manufacturing Zones. The proposal identifies the following five geographic areas for initial implementation: 1) Brownsville – Matamoros; 2) Laredo – Nuevo Laredo; 3) El Paso – Chihuahua – Cd. Juarez – Santa Teresa; 4) Nogales, AZ – Nogales, Son; and 5) San Diego – Tijuana – Otay Mesa – Ensenada – Calexico – Mexicali.

The demonstration project entails the equipping of commercial vehicles and manufacturing facilities with Intelligent Software Agents (ISA) and Information Technology Systems (ITS) to enable point of origin monitoring and clearance of commercial cargo, supply chain visibility, and the system’s integration to high priority trade corridors. The proposal also includes the retrofitting of the commercial vehicles’ engines with innovative, clean natural gas systems and necessary refueling infrastructure to improve the border region’s air quality and public health.

The projected cost of the proposal is $100 million over the next 3-5 years. The proposal recommends a combination of federal and state government grants, incentives, and low interests loans from the U.S. and Mexico to facilitate the creation of secure manufacturing zones.


The development of a border trade system that facilitates the creation of secure manufacturing zones along the U.S. – Mexico border meets both country’s priority to establish a strategic security strategy while promoting economic growth in a highly competitive global economy as expressed by the recent establishment of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as other international agreements. Collaboration, strategic planning, and commitment among federal, state, and local governments in the U.S. and Mexico, as well as the private sector and border communities, is essential to develop a border system that is safe, fast, and smart for the 21 st Century.


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