By Adina Moloman
Source: Woodrow Wilson Center
Woodrow Wilson Center, Mexico Institute, and the Border Trade Alliance, together with ProMéxico, Asociación de Empresarios Mexicanos (AEM) and the Congressional Border Caucus hosted a forum focused on economic competitiveness along the US-Mexico border. The forum, “Envisioning a Competitive U.S.-Mexico Border”, took place in Washington, D.C.
The event was attended by business, trade and government officials from the U.S. and Mexico, including Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Eduardo Medina Mora, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, Mexican Congressman Agustín Barrios Gómez, Foreign Relations Committee; Alan Bersin, Assistant Secretary of International Affairs and Chief Diplomatic Officer, Department of Homeland Security; César Duarte Jáquez, Governor of Chihuahua among others.
The one day event focused on different discussion panels such as: Creating a Competitive U.S.-Mexico Border: The View from Congress; Infrastructure: Ports and Roads to Connect North America; Energy: Crossborder Infrastructure, Crossborder Opportunities; Binational Cooperation for a Competitive Border and a Competitive Region; Customs & Logistics: Strategies for Efficient Border Management; Addressing Criminal Violence: Lessons from Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana; An Integrated Approach to Economic Growth and Border Security.
The key speakers at the event stressed the importance of trade between the two countries, where U.S. exports to Mexico have grown nearly 160 percent since the North American Free Trade Agreement was enacted 20 years ago, while Mexico’s exports to the U.S. have grown approximately 400 percent.
Every day around $800 million of cargo and commodities is crossing into the U.S. from Mexico using all kind of ports of entries existing between the two countries. There is the opportunity to trade even more if both countries will work on different issues: infrastructure improvements which can play an important role in improving trade between the two countries, the optimization of the operations at all ports of entry, improvements on the conditions that affect the private sector’s ability to cooperate with entities manufacturing in Mexico and export its products at a faster rate, etc.
Citing the Mexican Congressman Agustín Barrios Gómez “the border is already integrating North America in spite of the governments but there is need “a common narrative and common data on the border to be effective”.