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Texas Border and Mexican Affairs

XVI BORDER GOVERNORS CONFERENCE
UNITED STATES-MEXICO


JOINT DECLARATION
June 25-26, 1998
Brownsville, Texas

PREAMBLE

 

THE GOVERNORS OF THE STATES OF ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA, NEW MEXICO AND TEXAS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE STATES OF BAJA CALIFORNIA, CHIHUAHUA, COAHUILA, NUEVO LEON, SONORA AND TAMAULIPAS OF THE UNITED MEXICAN STATES MEETING IN THE CITY OF BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS ON JUNE 25 AND 26, 1998, FOR THE XVI BORDER GOVERNORS CONFERENCE, DISCUSSED ISSUES REGARDING BORDER CROSSINGS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, THE ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT.

WHEREAS, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE UNITED MEXICAN STATES ARE TWO SOVEREIGN AND INDEPENDENT NATIONS WITH THEIR OWN CLEAR IDENTITIES THAT SHARE A BORDER OF MORE THAN 2,000 MILES;

THE SHARED BORDER CONSTITUTES ONE OF THE MOST DYNAMIC REGIONS IN THE WORLD WHERE NOT ONLY TWO DIFFERENT CULTURES, IDENTITIES AND PERCEPTIONS UNITE, BUT ALSO CONNECTS TWO NEIGHBORING YET DIVERSE COUNTRIES WITH DISPARITIES IN THEIR LEVELS OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT;

THE STATUS AS NEIGHBORS PERMITS US TO VISUALIZE THE BORDER AS ONE REGION WITH AN ENRICHED PERCEPTION OF THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT OUR REGION OFFERS;

THE NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT HAS BEEN AN EFFECTIVE TOOL THAT HAS ALLOWED OUR COUNTRIES TO PARTICIPATE AS ONE HIGHLY COMPETITIVE REGION THAT HAS EXCELLED IN THE PROCESS OF ECONOMIC GLOBALIZATION;

THE ABILITY OF BOTH NATIONS TO REACH THE DESIRED LEVELS IN COMMERCIAL TRADE IS DEPENDENT UPON MODERN AND EFFECTIVE INFRASTRUCTURE;

THE DESIRE OF BOTH NATIONS IS TO HAVE THE FLOW OF GOODS, SERVICES AND PEOPLE CROSSING THE BORDER CARRIED OUT IN A SMOOTH AND EFFICIENT MANNER WITH STRICT RESPECT FOR HUMAN DIGNITY;

THE INHABITANTS OF BOTH COUNTRIES HAVE ACQUIRED AN ENVIRONMENTAL CONSCIOUSNESS WHICH TRANSLATES TO WORKING TO PROTECT AND CONSERVE THE ENVIRONMENT OF THE REGION;

THE BORDER GOVERNORS' CONFERENCE HAS BEEN AN EXCELLENT FORUM FOR THE ANALYSIS, COORDINATION AND SUPPORT OF PROGRAMS RESULTING IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ACTIONS THAT HAVE LED TO THE ONGOING DEVELOPMENT OF THE BORDER;

THE REGION REQUIRES IMPROVED INFRASTRUCTURE, BETTER ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND WELL-BALANCED SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BORDER IN ORDER TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF ITS RESIDENTS;

THE BORDER CONSTITUTES A REGION OF COMPETITIVENESS AND CHALLENGES AS WELL AS OPPORTUNITIES AND HOPES;

THE RESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES-MEXICO BORDER REGION ARE CURRENTLY LIVING AT A TIME OF GREATER INTEGRATION WHERE THE TWO CULTURES ARE BEING BROUGHT CLOSER TOGETHER WITH INTERWOVEN VISIONS AND WHERE A PHILOSOPHY OF LIMITS IS BEING CONVERTED TO ONE OF COOPERATION AND WORK AND;

WITH THE VISION OF ENCOURAGING ENVIRONMENTAL COOPERATION, IMPROVING BORDER CROSSINGS AND SUPPORTING ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT ALONG THE BORDER, HEREBY ADOPT THE FOLLOWING

RECOMMENDATIONS

BORDER CROSSINGS

SUPPORT THE IMMEDIATE IMPLEMENTATION OF THOSE PROVISIONS OF NAFTA THAT RELATE TO BORDER TRANSPORTATION.

ENCOURAGE THE COMPATIBILITY OF THE BORDER STATES' MOTOR CARRIER PROVISIONS AND REGULATIONS IN ORDER TO IMPROVE THE PROCESS OF VEHICULAR DOCUMENTATION WHILE AT THE SAME TIME ENSURING THE EFFICIENCY OF THE PROCESS.

PROMOTE PARTNERSHIPS AND COOPERATION BETWEEN LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BORDER IN THEIR EFFORTS TO IDENTIFY AND RECOVER STOLEN VEHICLES AND TO CREATE A UNIFORM VEHICULAR REGISTRATION THAT WILL BE COMPATIBLE IN BOTH COUNTRIES.

SUPPORT BINATIONAL EFFORTS OF LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL OFFICIALS TO ANALYZE TRAFFIC FLOWS AND PORT EFFICIENCIES AND TO IDENTIFY AND RECOMMEND APPROPRIATE IMPROVEMENTS.

PROMOTE PROGRAMS SUCH AS UNIFIED PORT MANAGEMENT (UPM), DESIGNATED COMMUTER LANES (DCL), AND THE BUSINESS ANTISMUGGLING COALITION (BASC) TO MODERNIZE THE INSPECTION AND PROCESSING AT BORDER CROSSINGS AND FUTURE CROSSINGS WITH THE PURPOSES OF INCREASING THE EFFICIENCY AND USE AND EXPANSION OF EXISTING RESOURCES, PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT AND OF REDUCING THE TRANSIT OF PROHIBITED SUBSTANCES ALONG THE BORDER.

REQUEST THAT THE IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE HONOR I-94 MULTIPLE ENTRY DOCUMENTS FOR LEGAL ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES FOR THE ENTIRE DURATION OF THEIR VALIDITY RATHER THAN READJUDICATING THESE DOCUMENTS EACH TIME VISITORS ENTER THE UNITED STATES.

WORK WITH THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE TO ENSURE THAT THE NEW "LASER VISA" PROGRAM IS USER-FRIENDLY, ACCESSIBLE AND AFFORDABLE TO THE APPLICANT, AND COORDINATE THE DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION ABOUT THIS PROGRAM WITH THE MEXICAN SECRETARIAT OF FOREIGN RELATIONS AND THE GOVERNMENTS OF THE U.S. AND MEXICAN BORDER STATES IN ORDER TO MINIMIZE ITS IMPACT.

REQUEST THAT THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS ENSURE THAT THE EXIT CONTROLS, AS MANDATED BY THE 1996 IMMIGRATION REFORM ACT, DO NOT DISRUPT TRADE, TOURISM OR OTHER LEGITIMATE CROSS-BORDER TRAFFIC AT LAND BORDER POINTS OF ENTRY.

OPPOSE ANY FEDERALLY-MANDATED BORDER CROSSING FEES THAT NEGATIVELY AFFECT THE ECONOMY OF THE REGION.

SUPPORT THE EXPANSION AND SIMPLIFICATION OF THE CURRENT H-2 PROGRAM FOR TEMPORARY WORKERS IN THE UNITED STATES IN ORDER TO SATISFY THE DEMAND FOR LABOR IN THE AGRICULTURAL AND SERVICE INDUSTRIES.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

OBTAIN BETTER INFORMATION ABOUT THOSE INDUSTRY SECTORS ALONG THE BORDER WHICH OFFER A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE IN ORDER TO PROMOTE JOINT INVESTMENT AND STRATEGIC ALLIANCES IN THOSE AREAS WHERE THE REGION IS MOST COMPETITIVE.

UPDATE PERIODICALLY THE BORDER REGION'S INTERNET PAGES DISPLAYING EACH STATE'S CURRENT ECONOMIC DATA IN ORDER TO BETTER PROMOTE THE REGION AS ONE ENTITY.

PROMOTE PROGRAMS THAT AID IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOURCING RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE MAQUILADORA SUPPLIER INDUSTRY WITHIN THE REGION TO INCREASE THE VOLUME OF VALUE-ADDED PRODUCTS ASSEMBLED IN THE BORDER REGION BY TAKING ADVANTAGE OF OPPORTUNITIES CREATED BY THE NAFTA RULES OF ORIGIN.

SUPPORT THE PARTICIPATION OF COMPANIES FROM EACH BORDER STATE IN KEY REGIONAL SUPPLIER TRADE SHOWS SO PROVIDERS DEVELOP OPPORTUNITIES TO ESTABLISH STRATEGIC ALLIANCES WHICH WILL LEAD TO THE COMPANIES' INTEGRATION IN THE REGION'S ECONOMIC GROWTH.

OPPOSE AT ALL LEVELS OF THE PRIVATE AND PUBLIC SECTORS IN BOTH COUNTRIES THE IMPOSITION OF TARIFFS AND NON-TARIFF BARRIERS WHICH ARE INTENDED TO CIRCUMVENT THE PROVISIONS OF NAFTA OR THE ENACTMENT OF ANY PROTECTIONIST MEASURES AGAINST SPECIFIC PRODUCTS AND INDUSTRIES.

COORDINATE THE STRATEGIES FOR WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT THROUGH EDUCATION, TRAINING AND OTHER ACTIONS THAT STAND TO STRENGTHEN THE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES OF THE REGION, THUS INCREASING ALL AREAS OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.

PROMOTE THE CONCEPT OF "CULTURAL HERITAGE" TOURISM AS AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT IN THE PROMOTION OF THE TOURIST INDUSTRY IN THE REGION.

PROMOTE THE EXCHANGE OF SCIENTIFIC EXPERTISE, TECHNIQUES AND PERSONNEL TO IMPROVE PREVENTION, DETECTION, CONTROL AND ERADICATION OF ANIMAL AND PLANT DISEASES TO ENCOURAGE THE ENHANCEMENT OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION AND MARKETING AS PART OF THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE REGION.

ENVIRONMENT

SUPPORT THE IMPLEMENTATION OF INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS SO AS TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE IMPROVEMENT OF AIR QUALITY ALONG THE BORDER.

STRENGTHEN THE IMPLEMENTATION AND THE COMPATIBILITY OF GEOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION AND ELECTRONIC LINKS FOR THE PURPOSE OF HAVING SIMILAR TOOLS TO SUPPORT THE PLANNING AND MONITORING OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUES.

STRENGTHEN EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS THAT CAN PREVENT ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION IN THE BORDER REGION THROUGH COORDINATION WITH LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS, AND THE INDUSTRIAL AND ACADEMIC SECTORS.

IMPLEMENT AWARDS AND RECOGNITION PROGRAMS FOR OUTSTANDING PRIVATE AND PUBLIC SECTORS INITIATIVES TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT.

DESIGNATE NOVEMBER 15 AS "BORDER RECYCLING DAY" DURING WHICH EACH BORDER COMMUNITY WILL IMPLEMENT PROGRAMS AND DISSEMINATE INFORMATION TO PROMOTE THIS ACTIVITY.

SUPPORT TRAINING AND CONTINGENCY PROGRAMS FOR IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS PERSONNEL REGARDING THE HANDLING OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS AND WASTE.

REQUEST THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS OF BOTH COUNTRIES INCREASE PARTICIPATION BY BORDER STATE GOVERNMENTS IN THE BOARDS OF DIRECTORS OF THE NORTH AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (NADBANK) AND THE BORDER ENVIRONMENT COOPERATION COMMISSION (BECC).

REQUEST THAT FEDERAL AUTHORITIES OF BOTH COUNTRIES SUPPORT BORDER STATES' ENVIRONMENTAL AGENCIES' RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING THE COORDINATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECTS, AND DIRECT THE NADBANK TO ACCELERATE FUNDING OF WATER, WASTEWATER AND SOLID WASTE PROJECTS.

COMMIT TO PROTECT THE SAFETY OF THE BORDER REGION AND TO CONTINUE DISCUSSING THE HANDLING OF HAZARDOUS WASTE AND LOW LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTE IN THE BORDER REGION. IT IS PROPOSED THAT THE BORDER STATES SHALL WORK ON THIS IMPORTANT ISSUE.

CONTINUE RESOURCE CONSERVATION EFFORTS THROUGH WILDLIFE EXCHANGE PROGRAMS AND COOPERATIVE ACTIVITIES AND PROJECTS FOR BORDER PROTECTED AREAS.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

SUPPORT EFFORTS TO ESTABLISH BINATIONAL DISEASE AND ENVIRONMENTAL SURVEILLANCE SYSTEMS LIKE "TEN AGAINST TB" USING EXISTING STRUCTURES TO ADDRESS TECHNICAL AND OPERATIONAL HEALTH ISSUES TO STRENGTHEN PUBLIC HEALTH ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BORDER WITH PARTICIPATION FROM LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS IN BOTH COUNTRIES.

MAKE USE OF ELECTRONIC MEANS OF COMMUNICATION LIKE THE INTERNET, TO PROMOTE AND DISSEMINATE CULTURAL AND EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS.

PROMOTE THE CREATION OF A PROGRAM, USING QUALIFIED INSTRUCTORS, TO TEACH ENGLISH AND SPANISH, RESPECTIVELY, AS SECOND LANGUAGES.

PROMOTE THE EXCHANGE OF EXPERIENCES AND TECHNOLOGY TO DEAL WITH HOUSING ISSUES IN THE REGION, PARTICULARLY AFFORDABLE HOUSING.

HAVING AGREED TO THE FOREGOING, THE TEN BORDER GOVERNORS WILL MEET NEXT YEAR IN THE STATE OF BAJA CALIFORNIA, ELECTING THE GOVERNORS OF BAJA CALIFORNIA AND CALIFORNIA AS PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT, RESPECTIVELY, OF THE XVII BORDER GOVERNORS' CONFERENCE.

SIGNED IN BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, THE 26TH OF JUNE, 1998.

XVI Conference Signatures