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Texas Border and Mexican Affairs

XVII BORDER GOVERNORS CONFERENCE
UNITED STATES-MEXICO


JOINT DECLARATION
September 9-10, 1999
Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

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 LEÓN, SONORA AND TAMAULIPAS OF THE UNITED MEXICAN STATES, MEETING IN THE CITY OF TIJUANA, BAJA CALIFORNIA ON SEPTEMBER 9-10, 1999, HAVING ANALYZED, IN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE XVII CONFERENCE OF MEXICO-UNITED STATES BORDER GOVERNORS, THE TOPICS RELATING TO: BORDER CROSSINGS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND HEALTH, AND

WHEREAS:

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE UNITED STATES OF MEXICO ARE TWO SOVEREIGN AND INDEPENDENT NATIONS, EACH WITH ITS OWN CLEAR IDENTITY, SHARING MORE THAN TWO THOUSAND MILES OF COMMON BORDER, THUS CONSTITUTING ONE OF THE MOST DYNAMIC REGIONS OF THE WORLD;

THIS BORDER, SERVING AS A MODEL OF BINATIONAL INTEGRATION, AND OFFERING GREAT CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES, IS A PLACE THAT UNITES TWO CULTURES AND GLOBAL VISIONS, WHERE A PHILOSOPHY OF BOUNDARIES BECOMES THE IMPETUS FOR COOPERATION AND ACCOMPLISHMENT;

THIS VISION, ENHANCED BY OUR CLOSE PROXIMITY, HAS ALLOWED US TO VIEW THE BORDER FROM A TRANSBORDER REGIONAL PERSPECTIVE, THEREBY ENABLING THE PURSUIT OF NEW OPPORTUNITIES;

THE TEN STATES COMPRISING THE UNITED STATES-MEXICO BORDER REGION POSSESS A SERIES OF INHERENT COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES AND ECONOMIC SYNERGIES THAT ENABLE JOINT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, THEREBY INCREASING TRADE AND FOSTERING REGIONAL INTEGRATION;

TO EFFECTIVELY INCREASE TRADE AND STRENGTHEN COMMERCIAL EXCHANGE ALONG THE BORDER, BOTH NATIONS MUST INVEST IN MODERN AND EFFICIENT INFRASTRUCTURE AT THEIR PORTS OF ENTRY, THUS ENABLING THE SPIRIT OF THE NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT (NAFTA) TO REACH ITS FULL POTENTIAL AND POSITIVELY IMPACT THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE REGION;

TO CAPITALIZE ON INTEGRATED REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS, IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT THE EXCHANGE OF GOODS, SERVICES, AND THE LEGAL TRANSIT OF PEOPLE BE CONDUCTED IN A TIMELY AND EFFICIENT MANNER, WITH RESPECT FOR HUMAN DIGNITY, TO PROMOTE TRADE AND TOURISM WHILE PROJECTING A POSITIVE IMAGE OF OUR BORDER;

THE BORDER STATES, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE SECTOR, ACKNOWLEDGE AND SHARE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES OF THE BORDER BY IMPLEMENTING PROGRAMS AIMED AT PRESERVING THE WEALTH OF NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE REGION;

THE BORDER STATES UNITE IN THE DESIRE TO STRENGTHEN BILATERAL COOPERATION IN ORDER TO ADDRESS THE EFFECTS OF NATURAL DISASTERS IN OUR REGION, PARTICULARLY BY WORKING TOGETHER TO COMBAT FOREST FIRES AND REDUCE THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF DROUGHT AND FLOODING OCCURRING ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BORDER;

THE JOINT EFFORTS OF THE BORDER STATES TO IMPLEMENT PROGRAMS SUPPORTING HEALTH INITIATIVES ARE THE RESULT OF COORDINATION, SHARED RESPONSIBILITY, AND SENSITIVITY TO THE HEALTH AND WELL BEING OF THE INHABITANTS OF THE REGION;

THE FREQUENT WORK MEETINGS HELD BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENTS OF THE BORDER STATES HAVE MADE IT POSSIBLE TO ESTABLISH A MECHANISM FOR ONGOING DIALOGUE AND CONSULTATION IN ORDER TO ADDRESS DIVERSE AND COMPLEX BORDER ISSUES;

MEETINGS OF THIS NATURE HAVE MADE IT POSSIBLE TO ESTABLISH A CLOSE WORKING RELATIONSHIP AMONG THE GOVERNORS OF THE BORDER STATES, ALLOWING THEM TO OPENLY AND HONESTLY DISCUSS THE FOUR MAIN TOPICS THAT CONSTITUTE THE WORK TABLES INCLUDED IN THE XVII BORDER GOVERNORS’ CONFERENCE;

AND WHEREAS THIS NEW UNDERSTANDING AMONG THE GOVERNORS OF THE BORDER STATES HAS CONTRIBUTED TO STRENGTHENING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND MEXICO, AND LIKEWISE HAS BECOME THE FOUNDATION FOR THE BORDER REGION TO EMBRACE THE "NEW BORDER VISION" AND CARRY IT FORWARD INTO THE NEW MILLENNIUM.

WE, THE GOVERNORS, ENDORSING THIS JOINT DECLARATION, IN ORDER TO SUPPORT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, IMPROVE BORDER CROSSINGS, PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT, AND FURTHER COOPERATION IN HEALTH INITIATIVES, HEREBY ADOPT THE FOLLOWING TOPICS OF SIGNIFICANT IMPORTANCE TO THE BORDER REGION:

RECOMMENDATIONS

BORDER CROSSINGS

REQUEST THAT THE U.S. AND MEXICAN FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS CONDUCT A STUDY TO DETERMINE THE VIABILITY OF A PORT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BORDER THAT INCORPORATES THE CONCEPT OF A SINGLE POINT OF CONTACT AT THE PORTS OF ENTRY, TO INTEGRATE THE MANAGEMENT AND OPERATIONS OF ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES AND EXPEDITE THE FLOW OF TRAFFIC.

REQUEST THAT THE U.S. AND MEXICAN FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS CONSULT WITH STATE AND LOCAL OFFICIALS REGARDING THE LOCATION, DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION, OPERATION, AND INTEGRATED ACCESS ELEMENTS OF PORTS OF ENTRY SYSTEMS, PRIOR TO THEIR CONSTRUCTION.

ENCOURAGE THE U.S. AND MEXICAN FEDERAL INSPECTION AGENCIES AND RELATED SERVICES TO SCHEDULE UP TO 24 HOURS OF OPERATION FOR BORDER CROSSINGS CONSISTENT WITH DEMAND.

REQUEST THAT THE U.S. AND MEXICAN FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS CONTINUE THE BORDER TECHNOLOGY EXCHANGE PROGRAM, AND INCREASE FUNDING, IN ORDER TO IMPROVE ITS OPERATION AND TRAINING OF TECHNICAL PERSONNEL FOR DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT OF HIGHWAYS.

PROMOTE THE INSTALLATION OF WEIGH-IN-MOTION SCALES BEFORE REACHING THE COMMERCIAL PORTS OF ENTRY TO EXPEDITE TRAFFIC FLOW AND ENCOURAGE VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE WITH VEHICLE SIZE AND WEIGHT LIMITS.

OPPOSE ANY EXIT CONTROL SYSTEM AT BORDER PORTS OF ENTRY BY EITHER FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THAT NEGATIVELY IMPACTS TRADE, TOURISM OR OTHER LEGITIMATE CROSS-BORDER TRAFFIC.

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

WORK WITH THE U.S. AND MEXICAN FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS TO ESTABLISH A MECHANISM TO EDUCATE THE CITIZENS OF BOTH COUNTRIES ABOUT THE LEGAL CONSEQUENCES THAT CAN RESULT FROM INADVERTENTLY TAKING GUNS AND AMMUNITION ACROSS THE BORDER.

CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THE EXPANSION AND SIMPLIFICATION OF THE CURRENT H-2 PROGRAMS FOR TEMPORARY WORKERS IN THE U.S., IN ORDER TO SATISFY THE DEMAND FOR LABOR IN THE AGRICULTURE AND SERVICE INDUSTRIES.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

IDENTIFY EXISTING AND POTENTIAL INDUSTRY CLUSTERS IN THE BORDER REGION AND DEFINE THE PROMOTIONAL STRATEGIES AND PROGRAMS NECESSARY TO PROMOTE AND STRENGTHEN THOSE INDUSTRIES.

PUBLISH A SCHEDULE OF TRADE MISSIONS AND EXPOSITIONS TO BE WIDELY DISSEMINATED BY THE SECRETARIES OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN EACH STATE, FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRADE PROMOTION AND PARTICIPATION BY THE REGION'S BUSINESSES.

ORGANIZE TRADE MISSIONS, INVESTOR SEMINARS, AND OTHER PROMOTIONAL ACTIVITIES AIMED AT ESTABLISHING STRATEGIC ALLIANCES AND ATTRACTING NEW INVESTMENT TO THE BORDER REGION.

PROMOTE LINKS VIA THE INTERNET AMONG THE VARIOUS ECONOMIC ORGANIZATIONS IN THE BORDER STATES TO OPTIMIZE THE EXCHANGE OF ECONOMIC INFORMATION, PROMOTE INVESTMENT, AND MARKET PRODUCTS AND SERVICES.

PROMOTE THE ATTRACTION OF MAQUILADORA AND EXPORT INDUSTRY SUPPLIERS TO THE REGION, UTILIZING NAFTA RULES OF ORIGIN, AS WELL AS EXISTING SUPPORT INSTRUMENTS AND PROGRAMS FOR MICRO AND SMALL INDUSTRY.

REQUEST THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS OF BOTH NATIONS ENSURE THAT PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE MEXICAN TAX LAWS, SUCH AS THOSE PROVISIONS THAT DETERMINE "PERMANENT ESTABLISHMENT," DO NOT RESULT IN DOUBLE OR UNFAIR TAXATION FOR THOSE FIRMS THAT CURRENTLY OPERATE UNDER THE MAQUILADORA AND PITEX (TEMPORARY IMPORTATION TO MANUFACTURE EXPORT GOODS) PROGRAMS IN MEXICO.

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

FORMALIZE THE BORDER STATES AGRIBUSINESS COMMITTEE'S AGREEMENT TO PROMOTE COLLABORATION AND EDUCATIONAL EXCHANGE BETWEEN THE AGRO INDUSTRY AND UNIVERSITIES OF BOTH COUNTRIES IN THE FIELDS OF ANIMAL AND CROP HEALTH, NUTRITIONAL SAFETY, PREVENTION OF PEST INFESTATION AND BLIGHT, AND COMMERCIAL EXCHANGE.

PROMOTE THE DEVELOPMENT AND VOLUNTARY IMPLEMENTATION OF QUALITY ASSURANCE PROGRAMS TO BRING ABOUT GOOD FARMING AND FOOD PROCESSING PRACTICES, DESIGNED TO REDUCE THE RISK OF CHEMICAL AND MICROBIOLOGICAL CONTAMINATION IN FOOD.

DEVELOP EXCHANGES OF SCIENTIFIC SPECIALIZATION, TECHNIQUES, AND PERSONNEL TO IMPROVE PREVENTION, DETECTION, CONTROL, AND ERADICATION OF PLANT AND ANIMAL DISEASES, AS WELL AS ILLNESSES CAUSED BY FOOD.

PROMOTE CULTURAL HERITAGE TOURISM AND ECOTOURISM AS ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS IN THE PROMOTION OF THE TOURISM INDUSTRY IN THE REGION.

WORK TOGETHER ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BORDER TO DESIGN AND ESTABLISH A MECHANISM FOR OBTAINING RECIPROCAL INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR VEHICLES IN BOTH COUNTRIES.

CONTINUE TO OPPOSE CUSTOMS OR IMMIGRATION MEASURES THAT AFFECT THE FREE TRANSIT OF PERSONS OR TOURISM BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES.

REQUEST THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS OF BOTH COUNTRIES FULLY IMPLEMENT THOSE PROVISIONS OF THE NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT WITH RESPECT TO THE CROSS BORDER TRANSPORT AND INSPECTION OF COMMERCIAL GOODS AND PASSENGER VEHICLES.

ENVIRONMENT

REQUEST THAT THE NORTH AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (NADBANK) AND THE BORDER ENVIRONMENT COOPERATION COMMISSION (BECC) AS WELL AS FEDERAL AGENCIES OF BOTH NATIONS, WORK WITHIN THEIR EXISTING CHARTERS AND IN COLLABORATION WITH STATE GOVERNMENTS, TO RESOLVE USED-TIRE DISPOSAL PROBLEMS AND ALSO TO CONSIDER AS A PRIORITY THE CONSTRUCTION OF FACILITIES FOR INDUSTRIAL SOLID WASTE, BIO-MEDICAL WASTE, AND HAZARDOUS WASTE PRODUCED IN THE REGION.

REQUEST THAT THE FEDERAL AUTHORITIES AND THE BORDER STATES CONTINUE EXCHANGING INFORMATION AND EXPERIENCES RELATED TO HAZARDOUS WASTE DISPOSAL FACILITIES WITH THE INTENTION OF PROTECTING THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF INHABITANTS, ECOSYSTEMS, AND NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE BORDER REGION.

REQUEST THAT THE FEDERAL AUTHORITIES OF BOTH COUNTRIES, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE BORDER XXI COORDINATION PRINCIPLES DOCUMENT SIGNED BY THE TEN STATES AND BOTH FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS, CONTINUE FUNDING THE BINATIONAL TRAINING AND COORDINATION ACTIVITIES ORGANIZED BY ENVIRONMENTAL ENFORCEMENT SUPPORT INSTITUTIONS, PARTICULARLY THE WESTERN STATES PROJECT AND THE SOUTHERN ENVIRONMENTAL ENFORCEMENT NETWORK, AND ENSURE STATE ACCESS TO THEIR TRAINING ACTIVITIES.

REQUEST THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS OF BOTH NATIONS PROVIDE STATE ACCESS TO HAZARDOUS WASTE DATABASES (HAZTRAKS AND SIRREP) TO FACILITATE GREATER LOCAL AWARENESS REGARDING THE TRANSBOUNDARY MOVEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL HAZARDOUS WASTES AND MATERIALS.

REQUEST THAT THE NORTH AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (NADBANK) AND THE BORDER ENVIRONMENT COOPERATION COMMISSION (BECC) ORGANIZE AND FINANCE THE DEVELOPMENT OF DECENTRALIZED WATER AND WASTEWATER OPERATOR CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS FOR ALL BORDER STATES.

REQUEST THAT THE GOVERNORS OF THE BORDER STATES BE ALLOWED TO NOMINATE THEIR COUNTRY'S BORDER STATE REPRESENTATIVES TO THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND ADVISORY BOARD OF THE BORDER ENVIRONMENT COOPERATION COMMISSION (BECC), IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE BILATERAL ENVIRONMENTAL SIDE AGREEMENT OF THE NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT.

PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE BORDER REGION BY DOCUMENTING AND PUBLICIZING SUCCESSFUL, LOW-COST WASTEWATER TREATMENT, WATER CONSERVATION, WATER RE-USE, AIR QUALITY, AND SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT PROJECTS TO FACILITATE FUTURE PROJECTS THAT WILL INCORPORATE ELEMENTS THAT HAVE BEEN PROVEN SUCCESSFUL.

REQUEST THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS OF BOTH COUNTRIES ALLOCATE FUNDING TO IMPLEMENT ENVIRONMENTAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS RELATED TO AIR QUALITY ALONG THE BORDER, IN SUPPORT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AIR QUALITY CORRECTIVE STRATEGIES FOR MOBILE SOURCES (VEHICLES) AND AREA SOURCES (UNPAVED ROADS) THAT CONTRIBUTE TO AIR POLLUTION, IN ORDER TO PROTECT THE HEALTH OF BORDER RESIDENTS AND VISITORS.

PROMOTE TEN STATE PARTICIPATION IN PROJECT DEVELOPMENT, SELECTION, AND EVALUATION WITH RESPECT TO BORDER ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH PROJECTS AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE ACTIVITIES PROPOSED BY ACADEMIC AND SCIENTIFIC INSTITUTIONS, SUCH AS THE SOUTHWEST CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AND POLICY (SCERP) AND THE U.S.-MEXICO FOUNDATION FOR SCIENCE (FUMEC).

HEALTH

SUPPORT EFFORTS TO ESTABLISH A BINATIONAL BORDER HEALTH INFORMATION SYSTEM ON THE CONTROL AND TREATMENT OF TUBERCULOSIS AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES THROUGH THE BORDER STATES, SUCH AS THE EPIDEMIOLOGICAL INFORMATION NETWORK (EPI-FAX), THAT CURRENTLY EXISTS BETWEEN NEW MEXICO-CHIHUAHUA AND TEXAS-COAHUILA, AND ENCOURAGE ITS USE BETWEEN CLINICS AND HEALTH AGENCIES IN THE BORDER REGION.

CONTINUE TO SUPPORT TUBERCULOSIS PREVENTION AND CONTROL ACTIVITIES IN THE BORDER STATES TO DECREASE THE INCIDENCE OF INFECTION AND DISEASE.

REQUEST THAT THE U.S. AND MEXICAN FEDERAL HEALTH AGENCIES AND RELATED SERVICES EXPEDITE THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE BINATIONAL INFECTIOUS DISEASE SURVEILLANCE PROJECT (BIDS).

PROMOTE TECHNICAL AND SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION EXCHANGE BETWEEN HEALTH AGENCIES AND ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS ALONG THE BORDER, IN ORDER TO DECREASE MORTALITY AND DISABILITIES RESULTING FROM CHRONIC DISEASES.

INTENSIFY BINATIONAL ACTIVITIES TO COMBAT DRUG DEPENDENCE THROUGH PREVENTION PROGRAMS, EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN SCHOOLS AND IN THE REGION'S COMMUNITIES, WITH THE PARTICIPATION OF SPECIALIZED HEALTH PERSONNEL.

SUPPORT EFFORTS BY THE BORDER STATE HEALTH AUTHORITIES TO IDENTIFY AND REDUCE BARRIERS HINDERING THE PROMPT AND SMOOTH CROSS-BORDER TRANSPORTATION OF PATIENTS, BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL SAMPLES, AS WELL AS OTHER MEDICAL EQUIPMENT.

HAVING AGREED TO THE FOREGOING, THE TEN BORDER GOVERNORS AGREED TO MEET NEXT YEAR IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, ELECTING THE GOVERNORS OF CALIFORNIA AND TAMAULIPAS AS PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT, RESPECTIVELY, OF THE XVIII BORDER GOVERNORS’ CONFERENCE. SIGNED IN TIJUANA, BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO, THE 10TH OF SEPTEMBER, 1999

XVII Conference Signatures