Specifically, McAleenan wants to “apply the full strength of COAC” toward this initiative and authorized the formation of the Northern Triangle Working Group, which is the first working group to be fielded within COAC’s new Rapid Response Subcommittee.
McAleenan said the idea for the working group came after repeated meetings with trade groups, companies, nongovernmental organizations and local government officials during the past six months regarding the humanitarian crisis at the U.S. southern border due to the influx of migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
The commissioner said that these people are pressured to leave the Central American countries, known geographically as the Northern Triangle, due to food insecurity and poverty.
He noted that the three countries face numerous supply chain and customs control barriers, which cause cargo delays at the border of 24 to 76 hours and generally hinder the trade facilitation necessary to improve their respective economies. McAleenan wants the new COAC working group to propose ways to diminish those barriers to trade among the three Central American countries.
Lenny Feldman, an attorney with international trade law firm Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg and trade co-chair of COAC, told McAleenan that the committee welcomes the new working group. “COAC is ready for the challenge. We accept it,” he said.
Lisa Gelsomino, president and CEO of Avalon Risk Management and COAC trade co-chair, agreed with Feldman’s assessment and said that through the Northern Triangle Working Group the trade advisory committee becomes a “real incubator for new ideas.”
COAC is tentatively scheduled to meet next in Laredo, Texas, on May 20.