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Press Releases & Statements

U.S.-Mexico Cooperation Strengthens Port Security and Capacity to Intercept Weapons of Mass Destruction

México, City, July 24, 2012 — The government of Mexico and the U.S. Embassy today announced the successful implementation of the Megaports Initiative. This project was achieved thanks to cooperation between the U.S. Government and Mexico’s Customs Administration (SAT) at four principal Mexican ports. The Megaports Initiative is a U.S. Department of Energy program intended to enhance the ability of ports around the world to detect and interdict illicit shipments of special nuclear and other radioactive materials.

This was accomplished thanks to the donation of fixed and portable radiation detectors and isotope identifiers, and by providing specialized training and technical assistance focused on key cargo ports. This project was implemented in the Mexican ports of Manzanillo, Altamira, Lazaro Cardenas, and Veracruz, through which 92% of Mexico’s containerized cargo pass. Cooperation on this project between Mexico’s Customs Administration (SAT) and the Department of Energy began in 2007, and today’s ceremony signifies the completion of the equipment installations at the four Megaports, and equipment turnover to the Government of Mexico for long term maintenance and operation.

To celebrate the implementation of the project, a ceremony was held in Manzanillo in which Laura F. Dogu, Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, said, “The inauguration of the Megaports in these four cities is an illustration of Mexico’s overall commitment to modernize its import and export management system over recent years, and to address its responsibilities under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, which calls on member states to take specific actions to prevent the proliferation of controlled materials and equipment and prevent non-state actors from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.  It is also an illustration of the continuing close cooperation between the United States and Mexico to make our shared landmass safer and more secure for the citizens of both countries.” 

Dogu continued, “Here at the port of Manzanillo we find equipment donated by the United States under the Merida Initiative, the Megaports Program, and the Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program, as well as Mexican customs and navy personnel who have benefitted from specialized training provided under these programs.  However, the contributions from the United States are only part of the story, as the Government of Mexico has also invested heavily in modernizing this strategic port and made significant strides in ensuring the safe conduct of commerce through enhancements in the ability of Customs officers to target and detect illicit shipments.  The United States of America congratulates Mexico on their achievements in this area.”

Alejandro Gutierrez, Head of the International Affairs Department of Mexico’s Customs Administration, said that SAT “has become a fundamental component in the National Security Strategy, by using a series of tactics that result in a balance between facilitating trade and enhancing security.” Mr. Gutierrez also said that, “these kinds of actions strengthen the commitment between Mexico and the United States to increase security on both sides of the border and to establish joint mechanisms which benefit both nations.”

The U.S. and Mexican governments reiterate their commitment to continue working together to make both nations’ borders safer and to acquire the necessary tools to prevent the flow of harmful materials that affect societies on both sides of the border.