Karst chat with Jaime Chamberlain: focus on opportunities - The Packer

Karst chat with Jaime Chamberlain: focus on opportunities

02/27/2012 09:40:00 AM
Tom Karst

3:08 p.m. Karst: So there is a lot of economic activity.

3:09 p.m. Chamberlain: I don’t care if you are senator out of Ohio or if you area governor of Utah, you need to understand that our trading partner in Mexico is extremely important. Their problems are our problems and our problems are there problems. We should work together, along with Canada, to make North America a stronger trading partnership than what we already have. That is a success story that should be built upon.

3:10 p.m. Karst: What does the future hold for Nogales and southern Arizona?

3:11 p.m. Chamberlain: We have one of the most modern ports of entry that is being built (in Nogales) right now in the U.S, on the northern or the southern border. It will be done in 2014. I want Congress to know and I want the rest of the U.S. t know - that our ports of entry are critically vital to the economic security of our country. If we do not learn how to process legitimate trade efficiently and quickly, we are going to lose the competitive advantage that we have. We need to have our ports of entry staffed the correct way with enough people that can help expedite the flow of traffic. When I have a load of produce come to the U.S., we forfeit our rights to that load of produce to over 40 different government agencies right there at the border. It is Customs and Border Protection’s job to expedite that and quickly process that so it comes into the U.S. in a legal form. When we give up our produce, we give it up to the FDA, CDC, USDA, APHIS - any government agency that wants to look into our produce can do that.

You can’t necessarily way that about domestic product. You have domestic farms in the U.S. that have gone two or three generations and they have never seen a USDA inspector on their farm or ranch. Here, we are giving up our rights and our produce at the border. It has to be staffed correctly and if you are understaffed and undermanned at your ports of entry, then your ports of entry are weak and therefore your trading efficiency and competitiveness becomes weak. In the last five or six years, the appropriations for border patrol has tripled. It is amazing how many guys in green their are. There is this buzzword: “secure the border.”  What does secure the border mean? One meaning of that is to secure your ports of entry. The 9/11 terrorists all came through a port, either an airport or a land.

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