Border Trade Alliance (BTA) announced that U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano will deliver the keynote address at the BTA 2009 International Conference
and Congressional Briefing, "New Administration, New Border Policy," in Washington DC, April 20 & 21, 2009.

The conference will be held at Embassy Suites DC Convention Center. Current agenda available at

Leading arguably the most important U.S. Federal agency with regard to border policy, as a former Arizona Governor and Attorney General, Secretary Napolitano brings a wealth of experience critical to understanding the opportunities and challenges of the border, BTA stated. In the short time since her confirmation as Secretary of DHS, she has already begun leading federal efforts to balance security and the facilitation of legitimate trade, travel and commerce at 166 U.S. land ports along the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico border.

"Already, Secretary Napolitano and DHS Staff have reached encouraging new levels of outreach and collaboration on border issues, soliciting ideas and feedback from border communities and the private sector to arrive at workable solutions to tough issues," the association added.

Under Secretary Napolitano's leadership, DHS recently announced a strategy, in conjunction with other federal agencies, at the U.S. - Mexico border to combat illegal weapon smuggling and money laundering operations inside the United States that feed the drug smuggling operations of the criminal cartels in Mexico.

Secretary Napolitano, in conjunction with her Canadian counterparts, announced the Administration's intention to revive joint U.S. and Canadian efforts to pre-clear vehicles at inspection facilities prior to their reaching the border, reducing the frequent congestion experienced at many U.S. border crossings along our northern border, BTA pointed out.

DHS and border stakeholders will continue to face the shared responsibility of addressing very difficult issues on the road ahead including: uncertain trade relations with Canada and Mexico over concerns of a "thickening" of the border, the U.S.'s commitment to NAFTA, and non-tariff barriers to trade; comprehensive immigration reform; border fencing and SBInet; budget shortfalls in upgrading trade infrastructure and CBP resources, and an escalating war with narco-traffickers in Mexico, the association added.

The BTA International Conference, offers a unique opportunity for DHS and border stakeholders to build a new platform for collaboration in confronting these challenging issues. Together, we can work towards developing innovative border processes, policies, technologies, and best practices to solve these challenges, the association stated.