- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 18, 2014

U.S. and Mexico authorities are on the cusp of striking a deal that would relax border controls for perceived “trusted” business travelers.

The U.K. Guardian reported that leaders for the United States and Mexico — Presidents Obama and Enrique Pena Nieto — will get together with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Toluca on Wednesday to hone talks about freer economic opportunities. The talks come on the 20th anniversary of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Officials in advance of this meeting say the focal point will likely be the new agreement that will speed up border crossings for executives, business people and other “trusted” frequent travelers, via a continent-wide, pre-screening system, The Guardian reported.

“There are several national trusted traveler programs already in place like Nexus, Global Entry, Sentry and in the case of Mexico, Viajero Confiable,” one senior level official in the Mexican Ministry of Foreign affairs told The Guardian. “The three countries will start by mutually recognizing those programs so it will be a matter of putting all the information of those three programs together in order to get a North American trusted traveler program.”

D.C. politicos — especially Republicans who vow to beat back any executive order on immigration, and Democrats disheartened with NAFTA — still would have to get on board for any relaxed border travel deal to occur.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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