In a greater effort to target tax-evasion and thwart potential efforts of smuggling and corruption, the Mexican government has replaced its 700 customs agents with over 1,400 newly trained and better-educated customs inspectors who have undergone extensive background checks. Announced on Sunday, Mexico’s customs authority spokesman Pedro Canabal said that “this change is part of our response to new demands in the fight against contraband” and also noted that the new deployments would improve Mexico’s tax collection, but the main benefit would be to prevent the entry of pirated and cheap goods that flood Mexico’s domestic industries. Military soldiers aided with some of the border controls during the transition.
This effort follows the government’s previous overhauling of the police force—all done in an attempt to root out corruption and tackle the drug cartels.
The border crossings will also have more dogs trained to identify drugs and other banned items and the new agents have been trained with the new high-tech equipment. Previously, Mexico only checked 10 percent of the 230,000 vehicles that crossed the U.S.-Mexico border daily, but the new technology will photograph, weigh and check the license plate of every vehicle that crosses the border.
June 1: This AQ-Efecto Naím segment looks at sustainable cities in the hemisphere.