What strategies are you using to help your members in times of recession?
CAAAREM has been working for many years to strengthen the jobs and security of customs brokers. We constantly propose their professionalization through obtaining licenses and constant training. The most important strategy is through the use of technology applied to customs control and the logistics process. With the technological tools that CAAAREM has developed, customs brokers can provide our clients with a comprehensive offering. Another strategic area is the job that we are doing with the authorities to facilitate foreign trade operations, which in this pandemic is valuable for our clients and the entire logistics chain. The engine of the national economy is foreign trade, which was negatively impacted by this pandemic. However, trade continued to flow because we are in a strategic sector that cannot stop. Communication with the authorities has been good, which allowed us to make important decisions quickly to protect the health of our stakeholders in customs.
How have customs brokers adapted their business to the challenges posed by the pandemic?
To a large extent, we have achieved a level of technological connectivity in customs that has allowed us to continue to operate under the new reality. Many businesses had to digitally evolve over the last few months, but customs agencies and logistics companies have been successfully working in this area for at least the last two decades. We have to continue to transform and modernize our customs system. We can always become more efficient, and an organization like CAAAREM must foster transformation and innovation and support our country in difficult times. Thanks to the investment in technology, customs agencies continued to operate after we sent our employees to work from their homes. We implemented a hybrid model, putting into place safety measures for warehouse operators, truck drivers, and our workers in the borders. We had to learn to evaluate the performance of our collaborators via other metrics. Innovation always helps us to evolve. Another point is the relations between our clients and suppliers. Before, we had to travel frequently to visit them and understand their operations and needs. Today, we have become more productive by using the internet. We do not waste time with transportation and we are more punctual. We also have to highlight the jobs that never stopped operations. Other customs authorities in the world were shut down or had significantly more difficult processes. Our customs borders have been up to the challenge.
What are the most important projects in which you are collaborating?
CAAAREM has several goals. Among them is to strengthen the country's foreign trade, and to achieve that we are working with the customs authorities. The pandemic has not stopped, and we must continue down our path. We work with the General Administration of Customs (AGA) and the Mexican Tax Administration Service (SAT) to improve the fight against corruption and smuggling and ensure tax is collected properly. The modernization of customs does not stop, so we have to continue to invest, especially in technology to have the best controls. We are working with other institutions to improve the competitiveness of domestic ports and logistics services.
What are your main priorities and goals for 2021?
The sector must continue to strengthen the mechanism of the customs agency and the competitiveness of each region where the customs brokers of CAAAREM are represented through our associations. It is important to continue with our processes of professionalization and certifications, such as the licenses to become an authorized economic operator to facilitate operations and make them safer. We also have to work closely with the private and public sectors to strengthen Mexican customs. Our priorities include making processes easier, encouraging more legitimate trade and tax collection, and fighting against corruption. It is essential to create prosperity through foreign trade, which we can achieve by working together.